Iran’s supreme leader is demanding all sanctions be lifted simultaneously with the signing of an agreement on the country’s nuclear program.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned about the “devilish” intentions of the United States in his first comments on the interim deal reached last week in the Swiss city of Lausanne, Reuters reported Friday.
“I neither support nor oppose the deal. Everything is in the details, it may be that the deceptive other side wants to restrict us in the details,” Khamenei said in a speech broadcast live on state television.
His stand on the lifting of sanctions matched earlier comments by Prsident Hassan Rouhani who said Iran will only sign a final nuclear accord if all measures imposed over its disputed atomic work are lifted on the same day.
These include nuclear-related United Nations resolutions as well as US and European Union nuclear-related economic sanctions.
“All sanctions should be removed when the deal is signed. If the sanctions removal depends on other processes, then why did we start the negotiations?” Khamenei said.
The US State Department repeated its position that sanctions against Iran would be removed gradually.
“Under the agreed-upon parameters, sanctions will be suspended in a phased manner upon verification that Iran has met specific commitments,” State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said.
He declined to react specifically to the Iranian leadership’s comments.
France, one of the powers to forge the interim deal, said on Thursday that many differences, including on sanctions, need to be overcome if a final agreement was to be reached.
The US and EU sanctions have choked off nearly 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of Iranian exports since early 2012, reducing its oil exports by 60 percent to around one million barrels a day.
The tentative accord was a step toward a settlement that would allay Western fears that Iran could build an atomic bomb, with economic sanctions on Tehran being lifted in return.
Negotiators from Iran, the United States, Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China will resume negotiations in the coming days to pave the way for a final deal.
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