Date
23 March 2017
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says Iran wants mutual respect from world powers trying to curb its nuclear program. Photo: Bloomberg
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says Iran wants mutual respect from world powers trying to curb its nuclear program. Photo: Bloomberg

Iran demands lifting of all sanctions before nuclear deal

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tehran will accept a deal over its contested nuclear program only if world powers simultaneously lift all sanctions.

The comments followed a decision by United States President Barack Obama to give the US Congress a say in any future accord including the right to veto the lifting of US sanctions.

“If there is no end to sanctions, there will not be an agreement,” Rouhani said in a televised speech in the northern Iranian city of Rasht, echoing Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who made similar comments last week.

“The end of these negotiations and a signed deal must include a declaration of canceling the oppressive sanctions on the great nation of Iran,” Rouhani said.

A tentative deal aimed at clearing the way for a final settlement on June 30 was signed between Iran and the six world powers on April 2.

Discussions will resume on April 21.

However, different interpretations have emerged over what was agreed in the framework, suggesting that nailing down a final agreement will be tough, even without the added complication of Congress.

Many congressmen have been highly critical of the US-led negotiations. They support Israel’s view that the framework proposal will not prevent Iran from developing atomic arms.

Tehran has said its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

While Israel said it was pleased with the move by congress, Rouhani said it was a domestic US issue that should have no bearing on the negotiations between Iran, the United States, Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China.

“What the US Senate, Congress and others say is not our problem,” Rouhani said. “We want mutual respect … We are in talks with the major powers and not with the Congress.”

US Secretary of State John Kerry, looking to reassure his negotiating partners, said on Wednesday he is confident Obama will be able to get congress to approve the final deal.

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CG/RA

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