Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that his country has succeeded in isolating Israel and that this was the reason why the Jewish state was trying to “ruin the positive atmosphere” surrounding talks about Iran’s nuclear program.
Speaking at a cabinet meeting, Rouhani said Iran must be careful about foreign enemies’ plans for damaging unity in the country, the official IRNA news agency reported.
Rouhani added Israel was trying to undermine the ongoing nuclear negotiations.
“The Zionists have resorted to sabotage and creating incidents at home and abroad,” he said, adding that the history of the Islamic Revolution showed that this happened every time the Islamic Republic was close to a breakthrough in the international arena.
Rouhani praised his government’s diplomatic efforts, saying his administration actively took the initiative in the global arena and “won the battle in the court of public opinion in the countries that have imposed sanctions on Iran,” according to the Tehran Times.
He said his administration had already achieved diplomatic success by stopping additional sanctions on Tehran and by engaging constructively with world powers.
“With the grace of God and thanks to the political epic of the people in the election, the diplomatic movement of the government, in constructive interaction with the world and through the support and trust of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, has produced valuable results in this short time, which has both prompted governments to praise democracy in Iran and also halt the increasing trend of sanctions against Iran,” the Tehran Times quoted Rouhani as saying at the cabinet meeting.
“It [the government] is consolidating its nuclear rights step by step, and removing hurdles from the path of the nation’s progress,” he added.
The Iranian president concluded by saying that the “the dignified path of the Iranian nation is clear, and the goals that have been set out by the Supreme Leader of the Revolution for the development of the country will be vigilantly pursued.”
Earlier Sunday, Iran’s parliament speaker, Ali Larijani, warned that too much pressure from the West during nuclear talks could force Iranian lawmakers to call for stepping up atomic work.
The message from Larijani followed appeals by some members of the US Congress to tighten sanctions despite nuclear negotiations that began last week in Geneva. It also appeared to address concerns by hard-liners over possible Iranian concessions in efforts to ease sanctions by the US and its allies.
Larijani said parliament could have a voice in the “amount and diversity” of nuclear activities, suggesting it could urge expanded nuclear activity if the West shows a “double standard and unjustifiable behavior.” He gave no further details in comments reported by the semiofficial Fars news agency.
Details from last week’s talks remain tightly guarded, but short-range priorities have been made clear. The US and allies seek to roll back Iran’s highest-level uranium enrichment, which is several steps away from weapons grade. Iran wants the West to start withdrawing sanctions, which have hit Iran’s vital oil exports.
The next round for talks is scheduled in Geneva for Nov. 7-8 between Iran and the P5+1, the permanent UN Security Council members and Germany. The West and others fear that Iran could eventually produce a nuclear weapon. Iran insists it only seeks reactors for energy and medical use.
According to Israeli officials who were briefed on last week’s round of nuclear discussions, Iran is reportedly willing to stop enriching uranium to 20 percent and “greatly restrict” activity at its nuclear facilities in exchange for a lifting of Western economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic, but won’t give up nuclear technology altogether.
Speaking at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for international pressure [on Iran] to continue, and even be increased, as long as “we don’t see actions instead of words” from Tehran.
Netanyahu stressed that the world should not forget that Iran “systematically deceived the international community” with regard to its nuclear program.
The New York Times said Friday that the Obama administration was weighing a graduated unfreezing of Iranian overseas assets, without rescinding the sanctions themselves.
Israel’s Minister for Strategic and Intelligence Affairs, Yuval Steinitz, is set to travel to the US this week — both to be briefed on what was said in Geneva, and to warn Washington against being duped into premature concessions to Iran.
Netanyahu is also set to discuss the Iranian issue with US Secretary of State John Kerry during a Rome meeting this week.
Israel’s position, according to Hebrew media reports, is that the concessions offered by Tehran would still leave Iran with the infrastructure for a nuclear weapons program in the future. Netanyahu has repeatedly demanded that Iran be stripped of its entire “military nuclear” program, with Arak and Fordo closed, all capacity to enrich uranium removed, and already enriched uranium shipped out of the country.
Rouhani said over the weekend that Iran has “the necessary political will” to strike a “win-win” deal with the international community over its nuclear program, the Tehran Times reported on Sunday. He added that last week’s meeting in Geneva, called the “most serious thus far,” by the White House, showed that “others became aware of the political will of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
Tehran is seeking relief from years of crippling sanctions imposed upon it by the West, which Israel insists be kept in place as the only factor pushing Iran to negotiate.
Rouhani said that Tehran hopes that “effective steps will be taken to resolve” the sanctions imposed on Iran. “The Islamic Republic of Iran will make every effort to prove to the international community that all its measures are legal and that it has nothing to conceal,” he said.