The Iranian parliament (Majlis) approved a bill on May 18 including a list of measures against Israel, such as the establishment of an Iranian consulate or embassy in Jerusalem to Palestine, boycott measures, and bans on contact and agreements between Iran and Israel. The bill, featuring 14 articles, passed with 43 votes in favor and no votes against, according to the Iranian IRNA news agency. The bill will be brought before the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee so that the parliament can vote on the law at the beginning of next week.
“During seven decades of its formation, the Zionist regime has created numerous difficulties for the Muslims in the region,” said the chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Mojtaba Zonnour, according to the Iranian Fars News Agency. “Spying, terrorism, and martyrdom of Iranian nuclear scientists, cyber and electronic warfare, and cyber-attacks on nuclear and economic centers are among the Zionist regime’s actions against the Iranian nation.” Zonnour encouraged Iranian lawmakers to approve the anti-Zionist motion as a substitute for Quds Day rallies that have been canceled due to the Coronavirus outbreak. The bill bans the use of Israeli flags, symbols, or signs for “propaganda purposes in favor of the regime“; direct and indirect financial assistance from Iranian nationals to the State of Israel is prohibited, according to the IRGC-affiliated Tasnim News Agency.
The Iranian bill emphasized that the “historical and integrated land of Palestine belongs to the original Palestinian peoples, including Muslims, Christians, and Jews,” adding that the Iranian government is obliged to treat Jerusalem as the “permanent capital of Palestine.” Within six months of the adoption of the law, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs must make arrangements for the establishment of a “consulate or virtual embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Capital of Jerusalem in Palestine.” The proposed law obligates the Iranian government to boycott all economic, commercial, financial, and governmental institutions of Israel whose shares belong to Israeli citizens or companies registered in Israel. Any activity of commercial companies that operate in the security, military, and infrastructure sectors is banned within Iran according to the new law as well, according to Tasnim. Cooperation between Iranian universities, medical and scientific centers, public and private centers, and government employees and their Israeli counterparts is banned as well, as is participation in conferences affiliated with the Jewish state.
Affected by the ban include any companies or entities directly created by Israel, entities that “work for the goals of the Zionist regime and international Zionism all over the world” and companies in which over half their shares belong to Israeli citizens. All hardware and software developed in Israel or by companies that have production branches in Israel are banned from use in Iran. All negotiations, political agreements or exchanges of information with official and unofficial Israeli entities are also banned by the new law. The penalties for breaking the law range from fines to imprisonment to dismissal from public service. All Israeli citizens are prohibited from entering Iran. Iranian nationals are prohibited from traveling to the “occupied Palestinian territories.” It is unclear what areas are referred to under the law. Non-incidental contact and communications between Iranian nationals and Israeli nationals are also prohibited. The perpetrator would have the burden of proof concerning proving the communication is accidental.
The announcement of the new law comes amid heightened tensions between Iran and Israel as plans for the annexation of much of the Palestinian-held territories are pushed forward by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. An alleged Iranian cyberattack on Israeli water and sewage facilities last month was the subject of the first Israeli cabinet meeting since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, contributing to some of the recent tensions between Israel and Iran. Additionally, Israel in recent weeks has launched a series of airstrikes throughout Syria against targets connected to the Iranian military and the Lebanese Shi’a sociopolitical organization Hezbollah. Many foreign policy observers note that the Israeli airstrikes against Iranian military assets and Iranian allies may lead to an open military conflict between Iran and Israel