Iran’s Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guard chief backs nu­clear talks: re­port

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY NASSER KARIMI

The chief of Iran’s Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guard praised the work of the coun­try’s nu­clear ne­go­tia­tors af­ter they struck a deal with world pow­ers, state tele­vi­sion re­ported Tues­day, a ma­jor en­dorse­ment from the Is­lamic repub­lic’s most pow­er­ful in­sti­tu­tion.

The com­ments by Gen. Mo­ham­mad Ali Ja­fari came as some 200 hard- lin­ers protested in Tehran against the frame­work deal reached last week in Switzer­land. Ja­fari’s en­dorse­ment likely will iso­late those still op­pos­ing the deal fur­ther amid the wide­spread sup­port ne­go­tia­tors have re­ceived and may smooth any po­ten­tial par­lia­men­tary vote over it.

“With God’s grace, the rev­o­lu­tion­ary chil­dren of Is­lamic Iran have suc­ceeded in de­fend­ing the rights of the Ira­nian na­tion and the Ira­nian na­tion and the Guard ap­pre­ci­ate their hon­est po­lit­i­cal ef­forts,” Ja­fari was quoted as say­ing on state TV’s web­site.

The Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guard is the sin­gle most pow­er­ful in­stitu- tion in Iran. It ex­erts a strong be­hind- the- scenes role in Ira­nian af­fairs and likely would have to agree to any po­ten­tial de­mands reached in ne­go­ti­a­tions, such as in­creased in­ter­na­tional mon­i­tor­ing at nu­clear and re­lated sites.

Iran’s top leader Ay­a­tol­lah Ali Khamenei, who has the fi­nal say on all ma­jor is­sues, in­clud­ing the nu­clear pro­gram, has backed the ne­go­tia­tors, fur­ther step­ping up the pres­sure on re­main­ing hold­out hard-lin­ers.

The rally Tues­day by 200 hard- line pro­test­ers took place in front of the par­lia­ment in the Ira­nian cap­i­tal as For­eign Min­is­ter Mo­ham­mad Javad Zarif briefed law­mak­ers there in a closed-door ses­sion. Iran’s of­fi­cial IRNA news agency re­ported that the pro­test­ers launched their demon­stra­tions with­out the per­mis­sion of au­thor­i­ties.

Pro­test­ers car­ried ban­ners call­ing the agree­ment a “de­feat” — de­spite the over­whelm­ing back­ing of the deal by the gov­ern­ment of mod­er­ate Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani.

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