TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s Supreme Leader has urged officials not to pin hopes for economic recovery on the sanctions relief from a landmark deal reached with world powers on Tehran’s nuclear program.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also called on critics of the interim nuclear deal achieved on Nov. 24 in Geneva to be fair and give time to President Hassan Rouhani to pursue its policy of engagement with the outside world.
He was speaking to air force officers Monday. His comments were posted on his website, leader.ir. Khamenei said the government should rely on Iran’s domestic capabilities to resolve economic problems.
Khamenei’s comments came as Tehran and the International Atomic Energy Agency resumed nuclear talks Saturday. The discussions, meant to last a day, were meant to “broach sensitive military-related issues,” Reuters reported, and ascertain whether Iran sought atomic weapon technology.
Although separate from the ongoing diplomacy between Iran and the P5+1 powers — United States, Russia, China, Germany, France, and Britain — and their reaching of a landmark interim nuclear deal in November, the IAEA investigation is aligned with the international body’s efforts.
The key outstanding issue between the IAEA and Iran is the UN body’s suspicion that the Islamic Republic developed the know-how to develop atomic bombs, whereas Tehran contends it has only sought peaceful atomic energy capabilities. In the wake of the November landmark agreement, which was set to deliver sanctions relief for Iran in exchange for its cooperation with UN inspectors and adherence to the framework’s timeline, Iran has said it will comply with the IAEA to clear up any remaining questions.
Negotiations over a final comprehensive, long-term nuclear deal are set to start Feb. 18.
Rouhani has been strongly criticized by hard-liners who say the interim deal made too many concessions in return for too little.