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Saturday 21 October 2017

Iran's hard-liners attack N-deal

Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister, has defended his country's nuclear deal against critics at home (AP)
Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister, has defended his country's nuclear deal against critics at home (AP)

Hard-line Iranian politicians have publicly criticised the country's nuclear deal reached in Geneva last week.

MP Ruhollah Hosseinian said it was so vague and conditional that it may finally lead to a shutting down of Iran's uranium enrichment programme. Hamid Rasaei, another hard-liner, has called it "a poison chalice."

Most MPs supported the deal, saying it eased sanctions that world powers have placed on Iran and prevents them from imposing new ones.

"We should tell the people what we have lost and what we have gained and why," Mr Hosseinian said. "It practically tramples on Iran's enrichment rights... Uranium enrichment restrictions in the final stage and constraints in the first stage mean that enrichment in Iran is headed toward self shut-down."

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on all state matters, has publicly supported the country's nuclear negotiators. Yet, it has not stopped others from criticising the agreement.

"A chalice of poison has been given to the people but (the government) is trying to show it as a sweet drink through media manipulation," Mr Rasaei said.

Foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has argued that the deal has caused serious cracks in the sanctions regime and prevents the UN Security Council and world powers from imposing new ones. The deal, he said, also provides sanctions relief in return for Iran scaling down its enrichment programme but allows it to continue enriching under 5%.

Government supporters have hailed him as "ambassador of peace," calling negotiations a diplomatic victory for Iran. Others say Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's angry reaction shows it was a triumph.

Mr Netanyahu called the deal last week a "historic mistake" that makes the world a "much more dangerous place." He added that Israel is not bound by it.

Israel believes Iran is trying to develop a nuclear bomb, and Mr Netanyahu has been sceptical of recent moderate gestures by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, whom he has called "a wolf in sheep's clothing."

Hossein Shariatmadari, a representative of Mr Khamenei and editor of hard-line newspaper Kayhan, said Iran has given too many concessions in return for too little.

"This slippery achievement is not consistent with the huge volume of propaganda that is being pumped into society over its significance," he said. "It leads to the assumption that government is not honest in its reports to the people."

-AP

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