Iran's President Strikes Back After Critics Berate 5+1 Nuclear Negotiations
14:26 01.02.2015(updated 14:42 01.02.2015)
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has reacted to criticism from hardliners that his administration is too accommodating in negotiations with the 5+1 regarding Iran's nuclear capabilities.
MOSCOW, February 1 (Sputnik) – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has responded to hardliners who are critical of the government's negotiations on its nuclear program with Western powers; the President hopes to have the country's economic sanctions lifted after a 12-year standoff over its nuclear activities.
Reuters reports that country's official news agency IRNA quoted Rouhani as saying, 'The other side applauds their own, but here in our country, it is not clear what [the critics] are doing. It is as if they are cheering on the rival team,' at a public gathering on Saturday.
'Criticism is not about booing, it is not about slander and character assassination. Criticism is about showing a better and clearer way so that [we can] reach our goals faster,' he added. The negative comments, Rouhani said, represent 'sabotage of national interests and favor for partisan politics.'
In January Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was criticized after being photographed going for a walk in the city of Geneva with US Secretary of State John Kerry, on the sidelines of bilateral talks aimed at breaking the deadlock over Iran's nuclear program. Zarif's friendliness with his Western counterparts was also documented when he traveled to Paris to meet again with Kerry as well as with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.
Golnaz Esfandiari, on Radio Liberty's Persian Letters blog, quoted the head of Iran's paramilitary Basij force, Mohammad Reza Naghdi, as saying that Zarif's stroll with Kerry represented 'a [violation] of the blood of the martyrs,' while 'traveling to Paris on the same day when the French Prime Minister showed the insulting cartoon of Prophet Muhammad in front of cameras, was even worse and even more unforgivable [than the stroll].'
Iranian MP Javad Karimi Ghodousi warned that Zarif would face examination in parliament over his actions, Esfandiari reported. 'We are preparing a motion for intensive questioning of the Foreign Minister, over his walk with the US Secretary of State, and his visit to France given the insult to the Prophet. We will submit this to the presidium [on January 25] with a large number of signatories.'
Rouhani was elected President in 2013 on a platform of moderation and engagement with the 5+1 group [United States, China, Russia, France, and the UK, plus Germany] to lift the crippling economic sanctions, which were introduced by the UN Security Council in 2006 four years after the existence of Iran's nuclear program first became public in 2002. Upon being sworn in as President in August 2013, Rouhani made a speech to the Iranian parliament in which, according to the Guardian, he declared 'If you want the right response, don't speak with Iran in the language of sanctions, speak in the language of respect.'
Negotiations on sanctions and the nuclear program have been ongoing since an interim deal was reached in November 2013; the deadline for a final agreement was extended until June 2015 after the parties were unable to settle their differences before the previous July 2014 deadline. Iran continues to maintain that its activities, which include the construction of a uranium enrichment plant and a heavy-water reactor, are for the purposes of producing energy, rather than the production of nuclear weaponry.
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