PHOTO: Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif “Progress on nuclear deal elusive if short-sighted bragging preferred”

Showing their increased concern over implementation of Iran’s nuclear deal with the US and other powers, top officials cautiously marked the one-year anniversary of the agreement on Thursday.

President Rouhani foreshadowed the shift in the Government’s enthusiasm on Wednesday when he cautioned that anyone who violates the deal “will be a loser on the international stage.”

He said that Iran is prepared to remove the limits on its nuclear program: “If the 5+1 Powers [US, Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia] wriggle out of their commitments, we are completely ready and capable to reach our desired point in a short time span.”

See Iran Daily, July 14: Rouhani Concern Over Implementation of Nuclear Deal

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Thursday that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is “a triumph of diplomacy over coercion” but then turned on the US:

Progress will remain elusive as long as short-sighted bragging, lackluster implementation of obligations, and tired slogans are preferred.

Mutual respect and fulfillment of JCPOA obligations to ensure promised dividends will open new horizons.

Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, a key ally of Rouhani, also cautioned, “The JCPOA has many accomplishments, but they are far from the eyes of the people.”

However, in a twist on the comments, Rafsanjani jabbed at the Government’s critics and introduced the controversy over political prisoners: “There are some short-sighted people inside the country who oppose both the JCPOA and releasing [people from] house arrest.”

Three leaders of the opposition Green Movement — Mir Hossein Mousavi, the chief challenger in the Presidential election “won” by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009; Mehdi Karroubi, who also ran in 2009; and Mousavi’s wife, academic and artist Zahra Rahnavard — have been detained under strict house arrest since February 2011.

Rouhani has promised that implementation of the JCPOA will lead the way to Iran’s economic recovery; however, the process has been complicated both by internal criticism — notably from the Supreme Leader — and from US sanctions that have yet to be removed, as well as financial restrictions imposed over Iran’s ballistic missile testing.