Iranian media split on merit of nuclear deal
The merit of an outline nuclear deal with world powers depends on tough details being settled in coming months, Iran’s newspapers said Saturday, with opinions split on the planned agreement.
Conservative outlets maintained their long-held skepticism about negotiations with the United States and other leading countries, but rather than criticizing the process outright many questioned who had benefited from recent talks in the Swiss city of Lausanne.
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who will have the final say on any deal, has yet to officially comment on the agreed frame- work for ending the 12-year crisis over Tehran’s nuclear program.
“Lausanne Horse-Trading: Bargain or Bust?” said the front page headline in Kayhan, a hard-line conservative daily. Its downbeat editorial argued that Iran had received less than it had given away.
“The agreement speaks of suspension of sanctions and not the lifting of them,” wrote its editor Hossein Shariatmadari, who is directly appointed by Khamenei.
“Things that Iran has accepted are clear and verifiable, but what the other side has agreed is vague and subject to interpretation,” he added.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius had on Friday drawn attention to the sanctions issue not being settled and noted that Iran would “still have to go all the way” on a deal.
On a similar note, the German Foreign Minister Frank- Walter Steinmeier cautioned: “It’s too early to celebrate.”
The English language daily Iran News asked on its Saturday front page: “Who is the real winner?”
Reformist media however praised the work of Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his negotiators.
Shahvand, a centrist daily, said Zarif and his team have successfully navigated “a dangerous stretch of the path” in Lausanne toward a deal.
President Hassan Rouhani on Friday said Iran would honor its commitments under any final agreement and promised that it would open a “new page” in the Islamic republic’s international relations.
But, stressing that the West must keep its promises, he added: “If one day they want to choose a different path, that choice would also be open to us.”
In a sign of the criticism that Rouhani’s government may still face, Haghighatpour Mansour, vice president of parliament’s national security and foreign policy com- mittee, said Iran’s negotiators had overstepped their boundaries.
“We offered Western inspectors a key to our military installations,” he was quoted by the Tasnim news agency as saying.
Such a step and ratification of the additional protocol of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, a condition of any agreement “are issues for ... the parliament,” he said.
Diplomacy Is the Best Course
with Iran: Obama
U.S. President Barack Obama said on Saturday that diplomacy was the best option to deal with Iran’s contested nuclear program, two days after the conclusion of a framework agreement with Tehran.
Iran and six world powers determined the outlines of a landmark agreement which would curb Iran’s nuclear program and potentially lift economic sanctions.
As Obama gears up to sell U.S. skeptics on the deal, he said he is convinced talks are the best way forward.
“As President and Commander in Chief, I firmly believe that the diplomatic option — a comprehensive, long-term deal like this — is by far the best option,” Obama said in his weekly address.
Explaining that he expects a “robust debate” on the deal in the United States, Obama said he will keep Congress apprised of the “substance of the deal.”
Many of Obama’s Republican opponents in Congress have been skeptical of a deal with Iran and suggested the U.S. may be giving too much away in its negotiations.
Echoing comments he made hours after the announcement of the agreement, Obama highlighted the rigorous inspections to which Tehran will be subject.
“If Iran cheats, the world will know it. If we see something suspicious, we will inspect it,” he said.
“So this deal is not based on trust, it’s based on unprecedented verification.”