Iran Daily, Feb 1: Rouhani Stares Down Critics of Nuclear Talks

LATEST: Larijani — Obama “Incapable of Right Decision” Over Nuclear Talks

With nuclear talks showing little advance towards a comprehensive settlement, President Rouhani has again challenged hardline critics in Iran.

Speaking at a humanities festival on Saturday, Rouhani accused the hardliners of undermining the discussions, seeking a resolution with the 5+1 Powers (US, Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia) by a deadline of June 1: “The other side applauds their own, but here in our country, it is not clear what [these critics] are doing. It is as if they are cheering on the rival team.”

The President said the criticism was destructive and politically-motivated:

Criticism is not booing or accusing, but instead it means to show a better and more precise way which would lead us to our destination faster.

Some people damage national interests in the name of a certain political party or faction or in the name of criticism.

He called for renewed support of the negotiators, led by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, “Today, we have very experienced diplomats who negotiate with the world’s six powerful countries about legal, political and technical issues. This is a source of pride for our country.”

Iran and the 5+1 agreed interim arrangements in November 2013, but failed twice last year to meet deadlines for a comprehensive resolution. Despite continuing talks this month, gaps remain on key issues such as the number and level of Iran’s centrifuges for uranium enrichment; the lifting of US-led sanctions on Tehran; and the duration of the agreement.

On another front, Rouhani continued the fight against political interference and a “security atmosphere”, in universities, “Science and knowledge need a free environment and professors and students and researchers should not be threatened for what they say.”

The Government has tried to reinstate students and professors who were expelled and fired amid the mass protests after the disputed 2009 Presidential election. Hardliners accuse it of appeasing “sedition” and have called for tough measures over curricula and university life as well as against suspect students and faculty.

The Rohani administration has been fighting a tough battle in its attempt to open the political atmosphere of the country against a rising conservative backlash.

The study of humanities in Iran has been heavily strained with islamization projects of Islamic Republic hardliners after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei pointed its finger at as the teeming ground of dissent against the regime.


Larijani: Obama “Incapable of Right Decision” Over Nuclear Talks

Is this a sign that Iran’s nuclear talks with the 5+1 Powers are on the verge of collapse?

Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, who has supported the discussions, told Parliament on Sunday that President Obama is “incapable of making the right decision” over the negotiations.

Larijani said that Americans’ “true objective” had been revealed in their blocking of progress, with Obama unable to give “the proper reaction to Iran’s sensible flexible policies” because of “internal disputes and domestic failures”.

He asserted that Obama needed “to recognize that the Iranian nation will never give in to pressures”.

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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.

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