Date
22 November 2017
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei  said "no agreement is better than an agreement which runs contrary to our nation's interests". Photo: AFP/Khamenei.IR
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said "no agreement is better than an agreement which runs contrary to our nation's interests". Photo: AFP/Khamenei.IR

Iran’s Khameini backs fair nuclear deal

Iran’s supreme leader said he supports a fair compromise in nuclear talks with the West.

“I would go along with any agreement that could be made. Of course, if it is not a bad deal. No agreement is better than an agreement which runs contrary to our nation’s interests,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Iranian air force personnel, Reuters reported.

His remarks were seen as a strong support to President Hassan Rouhani’s decision to negotiate with Western nations on the country’s nuclear development program, a policy opposed by powerful hardliners at home, the news agency said.

“As the president said, negotiations mean reaching a common point. Therefore, the other party … should not expect its illogical expectations to be materialized. This means that one side would not end up getting all it wants,” Khamenei said.

“I am for reaching a good settlement and the Iranian nation too will certainly not oppose any deal to uphold its dignity and integrity,” he added.

Negotiators, who are meeting in Munich, have set a June 30 final deadline for an accord, and Western officials have said they aim to agree on the substance of such a deal by March.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry said it would be “impossible” to extend the talks with Iran if an agreement on fundamental principles is not reached in the coming weeks, the Washington Post reported.

“Well, the only chance I can see of an extension at this point in time would be that you really have the outlines of the agreement,” Kerry was quoted as saying in a television interview. “You understand exactly what you’re doing.”

In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “We will do everything and will take any action to foil this bad and dangerous agreement.”

“World powers and Iran are charging ahead to an agreement that would allow Iran to arm itself with nuclear weaponry, something that would imperil the existence of the State of Israel,” Netanyahu was quoted as saying during his weekly cabinet meeting.

The nuclear talks with the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and France are aimed at clinching an accord that would ease Western concerns that Tehran could pursue a convert nuclear weapons program, in return for the lifting of sanctions that have ravaged the Iranian economy.

Major sticking points are the pace at which sanctions would be removed, the size of Iran’s nuclear fuel-producing capacity — a key consideration in preventing any output of bomb material — and the length of any agreement.

“Our negotiators are trying to take the weapon of sanctions away from the enemy. If they can, so much the better. If they fail, everyone should know there are many ways at our disposal to dull this weapon,” Khamenei said.

Any deal “must be concluded in one stage and consist of clear and detailed specifications, and not subject to [various] interpretations,” he said.

“Given our past experience in dealing with the [West], a final draft must not leave any room for the other side to repeatedly extract concessions.”

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CG

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