Iran Pulse

Rouhani challenges Iran deal detractors

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Article Summary
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that "only the Zionists" are opposed to a nuclear deal, and those not supporting the negotiators are guilty of "betrayal."

At a speech commemorating the 36th anniversary of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Feb 11, President Hassan Rouhani defended his administration in the nuclear negotiations with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1).

Rouhani said that only “Iran’s enemies” are opposed to a nuclear and that “it’s only the Zionists who are putting all of their efforts to oppose a nuclear deal. But today the world has found out about their betrayal, especially after the crimes they committed in Gaza.”

The use of the word “betrayal” was an interesting choice given that earlier in his speech, Rouhani used the same word toward those not supporting Iranians on the battle front. In discussing the Iran-Iraq war era, he said: “Those days when our fighters were fighting in battle, behind the front, all the people were supporting those fighting at the front. And no betrayal is higher than a betrayal behind the front. And today, all the people and the leader of the revolution support those who are at the diplomatic front and battle.”

The comment was shared widely on Persian language social media though some insisted that Rouhani was accusing the Israelis of betrayal and that it was clear that all the people of Iran and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader who has final say on the nuclear program, supported the negotiations.

Khamenei has given his support for the negotiations, and recently said that not only would he accept a “good” deal but also agrees with the United States that no deal is better than a bad deal. Given Khamenei’s support, Iranian critics of the nuclear negotiations have instead attacked nuances of the talks, such as the public walk by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and US Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has perhaps been the most vocal critic of a nuclear between Iran and P5+1 which would decrease Iran’s nuclear activities in return for sanctions relief. Netanyahu, who's facing a March 17 elections, recently said that he has a “profound disagreement” with the US and the rest of the P5+1 regarding the nuclear negotiations. In a move that has been criticized by some, Netanyahu plans to address the American congress to warn them about the offer that was made to Iran.

Former nuclear negotiation Saeed Jalili, who can be counted among Iran’s hard-liners opposed to a larger rapprochement with the West, traveled for the revolution's anniversary to the province of Khouzestan, a province where the administration has been criticized for its lack of solutions to the dust pollution. In response to US officials who have said that Iran has a difficult decision to make in the nuclear negotiations, Jalili said: “We made our decision 36 years ago with the victory of the Islamic revolution and we did not allow you to impose your will on us and it was us who imposed our will on your irrational will.

“America should know that not even in their dreams can they make decisions for [other] nations and impose their wants on those nations.”

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Found in: us-israel relations, us-iranian relations, nuclear talks, khamenei, iranian revolution, iran nuclear talks, hassan rouhani, anniversary

Arash Karami is a contributor to Al-Monitor. On Twitter: @thekarami

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