May 4, 2014


Hassan Rouhani faces growing criticism in Iran over nuclear talks (Simon Tisdall, 5/04/14,

The Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, is facing growing criticism from a broad array of political hardliners and rightwing opponents who say his government is being duped by the US in an over-hasty attempt to clinch a nuclear deal with the west and end economic sanctions. [...]

Pressure on Rouhani has been building in recent weeks as the likelihood of a deal has grown. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader and a staunch religious conservative, has backed the president's negotiation policy but made clear that certain red lines cannot be crossed. To appease rightwingers, he has ordered a review of the negotiators' performance. [...]

The US and Britain have expressed guarded confidence that a final nuclear deal with Iran can be reached by the deadline of 20 July, describing the talks as "very substantive".

Rouhani and his chief negotiator, Mohammad Javad Zarif, have echoed those sentiments. "Iran is optimistic about the results of the talks and has taken great steps to reach a comprehensive deal and aims to achieve a win-win result," Rouhani told Iranian television last week.

Rouhani hit back angrily at his critics. "Through lies and hype some people are trying to derail the government from its path, and this is against national interests and the leader's order ... Iran does not compromise on the people's interests," he said.

Part of the pressure on Rouhani stems not from public concern about the nitty-gritty of the nuclear deal but from entrenched partisan opposition to his new centrist government, which took office last year after defeating the conservative and rightwing principlist factions that dominated political life during the Ahmadinejad years.

Rouhani's main electoral pledge was to improve the economy. The lifting of sanctions is key to that objective, and has become more critical in the past nine months as economic conditions have deteriorated for most Iranians.

Posted by at May 4, 2014 8:23 AM

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