Iran’s Khamenei says no guar­an­tee of fi­nal nu­clear deal

The China Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY CYRIL JULIEN

Iran’s supreme leader Ay­a­tol­lah Ali Khamenei said Thurs­day that last week’s hard-won frame­work ac­cord with world pow­ers was no guar­an­tee of a fi­nal nu­clear deal and that much work re­mained.

And Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani said the Is­lamic repub­lic would not sign any fi­nal agree­ment un­less “all eco­nomic sanc­tions are to­tally lifted on the same day.”

“What has been done so far does not guar­an­tee an agree­ment, nor its con­tents, nor even that the ne­go­ti­a­tions will con­tinue to the end,” said Khamenei, who has the fi­nal word on all mat­ters of state, ac­cord­ing to his of­fi­cial web­site.

Af­ter a week of gru­el­ing last­ditch ne­go­ti­a­tions, Tehran and the six pow­ers agreed on April 2 on the frame­work of a deal to be fi­nal­ized by the end of June rein­ing in Iran’s nu­clear pro­gram in re­turn for the lift­ing of in­ter­na­tional sanc­tions.

“Ev­ery­thing is in the de­tail, it may be that the other side, which is un­fair, wants to limit our coun­try in the de­tails,” Khamenei said, in his first com­ments on the deal.

Play­ing down ex­pec­ta­tions of a deal af­ter the in­terim ac­cord — which sparked cel­e­bra­tions in the streets of Ira­nian cities — Khamenei said he had not taken any po­si­tion un­til now as “there is noth­ing to take a stance on.”

“Of­fi­cials say that noth­ing has been done yet and there is noth­ing bind­ing. I am nei­ther for nor against.”

Un­der the out­line text agreed in the Swiss city of Lau­sanne be­tween Tehran and the so-called P5+1 pow­ers — the United States, Bri­tain, China, France and Rus­sia plus Ger­many — Iran must sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce its num­ber of cen­trifuges in ex­change for a sus­pen­sion of sanc­tions.

The out­line was a ma­jor break­through in a 12-year in­ter­na­tional cri­sis over Iran’s nu­clear pro­gram.

Sanc­tions Lifted ‘same day’

“I have al­ways sup­ported and still sup­port the Ira­nian ne­go­ti­at­ing team,” Khamenei said.

“I wel­come any agree­ment that protects the in­ter­ests and great­ness of the na­tion, but hav­ing no agree­ment is more hon­or­able than an agree­ment in which the in­ter­ests and great­ness of the na­tion is dam­aged.”

He said that re­tain­ing a civil nu­clear in­dus­try in any agree­ment was vi­tal for Iran’s fu­ture devel­op­ment.

“The nu­clear in­dus­try is a ne­ces­sity, for en­ergy pro­duc­tion, for de­sali­na­tion, and in the fields of medicine, agri­cul­ture and other sec­tors,” he said.

In a po­ten­tial ob­sta­cle to any fi­nal deal, Rouhani said his coun­try wanted sanc­tions lifted on the day of the im­ple­men­ta­tion of any agree­ment.

“We will not sign any agree­ments un­less on the first day of the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the deal all eco­nomic sanc­tions are to­tally lifted on the same day,” he said.

The pace at which the sanc­tions will be lifted is one of the out­stand­ing is­sues that still has to be agreed in the fi­nal ac­cord.

West­ern gov­ern­ments, which have im­posed their own sanc­tions over and above those adopted by the United Na­tions, have been push­ing for it to hap­pen only grad­u­ally.

“In re­turn for Iran’s fu­ture co­op­er­a­tion, we and our in­ter­na­tional part­ners will pro­vide re­lief in phases from the sanc­tions that have im­pacted Iran’s econ­omy,” U.S. Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry said last week.

Rouhani, who was speak­ing on Iran’s Na­tional Nu­clear Tech­nol­ogy Day, re­it­er­ated that his gov­ern­ment re­mained determined to de­velop its civil nu­clear pro­gram.

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