Iran “managed to charm the world,” its president Hassan Rouhani said Saturday in a meeting with artists, the Iranian Nasim news agency reported.
“Even if the nuclear talks fail, our diplomacy showed the world that we are logical. We never left the negotiation table and always provided the best answer,” Rouhani told the group, according to Reuters.
Rouhani’s own website offered similar sentiments Saturday. “We behaved so skillfully that if talks won’t succeed, the world would accept that Iran is for logic and dialogue and never left the negotiating table…and if we succeed by the grace of God, the world will know that the Iranian nation can resolve its problems through logic,” the website quoted him as saying.
Rouhani based his assessment of the Iranian negotiators’ skill on the length of the talks between Tehran and the so-called P5+1 group of six world powers over its nuclear program.
“Twenty-two months of negotiation means we have managed to charm the world, and it’s an art,” he reportedly told the artists.
The Iranian president’s comments came in stark contrast to those of the country’s supreme leader and ultimate executive authority, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, earlier in the day, which suggested that no result from the talks would meaningfully change Iran’s relations with the West.
Iran would continue to fight the United States’s “global arrogance” whether or not the world powers and Iran reach a nuclear agreement, Khamenei said Saturday to a group of students in Tehran.
Iran’s “fight [against] global arrogance is the core of our [1979 Islamic] revolution and we cannot put it on hold. Get ready to continue your fight against the global arrogance. The US is the true embodiment of the global arrogance,” he declared in response to a student’s question about what would happen if the talks to curb the country’s nuclear program were successful.
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) July 11, 2015
At the annual al-Quds Day march in Tehran on Friday, hundreds of thousands shouted “Death to America,” burned American flags and displayed posters of President Barack Obama in flames.
Meanwhile, nuclear talks continued in Vienna between Iran, China, France, Britain, Russia, Germany and the United States.
US Secretary of State John Kerry and EU foreign policy chief Frederica Mogherini met with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif in Vienna Saturday as part of ongoing efforts to bring the talks, which have now extended beyond several self-imposed deadlines, to a successful conclusion.
Any deal is meant to secure long-term and verifiable restrictions on parts of Iran’s nuclear program that are technically adaptable to make weapons in exchange for sanctions relief for Tehran.
The scope of access to UN inspectors monitoring Iran’s program remains a sticking point in the negotiations. The Americans want no restrictions while Iranian officials say unrestricted monitoring could be a cover for Western spying.
Another unresolved matter is Iran’s demand for a UN arms embargo to be lifted as part of sanctions relief, a stance supported by Russia and China but opposed by the US and some Europeans.
AP contributed to this report.