Ten months before general elections, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei for the first time addressed the 11th session of parliament on May 24, describing it as “revolutionary, educated, and dynamic.”
The February 2020 election of the current parliament, which is dominated by hard-liners, was marred by the disqualification of thousands of candidates, casting a shadow over its legitimacy.
The 290-member legislature has since garnered a reputation as one of the most corrupt in the parliament’s history.
Meanwhile, Iran’s deepening economic crisis, ballooning inflation and nationwide protests against the country’s clerical establishment in the fall of 2022 has destabilized the Islamic Republic.
Despite this, Khamenei hailed the "youth and simplicity" of the lawmakers, although their average age is higher than in the previous parliament.
After several lawmakers were hit by corruption scandals, including its speaker, he emphasized the importance of preserving the MPs’ reputations, saying, "Sometimes, certain individuals intend to criticize specific officials, but inadvertently end up attacking the entire parliament.”
“It is not permissible to tarnish people's reputation or undermine their religious and revolutionary identity," he added.
Khamenei also praised parliament for passing a bill in 2020 that complicated nuclear negotiations.
The bill, dubbed the “Strategic Action To Eliminate Sanctions and Defend Iranian Nation's Interests,” authorized higher-level uranium enrichment to force the United States to lift crippling economic sanctions imposed by the United States in 2018, when former President Donald Trump withdrew his country from the nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers.
Since the passage of the law, the islamic Republic has further restricted international monitoring and inspections, further complicating efforts to revive the nuclear deal.
"The Strategic Action law you approved from the outset is a fundamental and significant law. It brought the country out of a wandering state in the nuclear issue, eliminating confusion and ignorance...This law clearly defined our course of action, and we continue to witness its impact in the world," Khamenei said.
The negotiation process to restore the nuclear deal began in Vienna in April 2021 and ended after 11 months of unfruitful talks.
In his concluding remarks, the leader of the Islamic Republic recommended the government of Ebrahim Raisi to work harmoniously with the parliament.
He emphasized the need to avoid a destructive approach where political parties view each other as competitors and solely focused on gaining personal advantage.
"This kind of attitude is deemed dangerous and problematic for both the government and parliament," he said.