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Thursday 14 November 2019

Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei endorses nuclear deal

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has endorsed the deal. (AP)
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has endorsed the deal. (AP)

Iran's supreme leader has endorsed a landmark nuclear deal reached with world powers.

But Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has warned the government to be vigilant, saying the United States cannot be trusted.

He endorsed the deal in a letter to moderate President Hassan Rouhani that was read on state TV on Wednesday. Until now he had publicly declined to approve or reject the deal while expressing support for Iran's negotiators. Khamenei has the final say on all major policies.

The agreement reached in July with the US, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany would curb Iran's nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of crippling international sanctions.

Western nations have long suspected Iran of pursuing nuclear weapons alongside its civilian programme, charges rejected by Tehran, which insists its programme is entirely peaceful.

The agreement has been the subject of fierce debate within Iran, with hard-liners arguing that the negotiators gave up too much ground. They also fear the agreement could lead to a broader rapprochement with the United States, which they still deride as the "Great Satan".

Khamenei's expression of support largely resolves the debate in favour of Mr Rouhani's moderate camp, handing them a major victory ahead of parliamentary elections.

But Khamenei also warned that the agreement "suffers from multiple structural weaknesses and ambiguous points that can lead to present and future great harms to the country in the absence of precise and constant vigilance". He added that "any remarks saying the structure of sanctions will remain in place are considered a breach" of the agreement.

PA Media

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