A top Iranian general from the country’s hard-line Revolutionary Guards rejected Monday the nuclear deal reached between Tehran and six world powers, saying the pact was unacceptable and “clearly in contradiction” of the Islamic Republic’s red lines.
The statement by Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, head of the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, came hours before the UN unanimously voted to endorse the deal paving the way to lift crippling international sanctions in exchange for curbs on nuclear enrichment.
“Some parts of the draft have clearly crossed the Islamic republic’s red lines, especially in Iran’s military capabilities. We will never accept it,” Jafari told Iranian news agency Tasnim.
While the general insisted that he, like all Iranian officials, views negotiations with Western powers positively, he recommended the UN not “waste its time” passing a resolution that would violates Iran’s red lines.
The agreement calls on Iran to slash its enrichment activity by two-thirds and open up its nuclear facilities to inspections, including military sites.
The elite IRGC force is considered to be closely allied to the hard-line flank of Iran’s ruling regime. Iranian political leaders, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have endorsed the deal, but also continued to issue fiery diatribes against the US and Israel, in what some see as a bid to soothe fears by hard-liners that the deal will show Tehran softening.
Jafari earlier said he had “concerns” about the UN resolution endorsing the deal.
The passing of the resolution marks formal UN endorsement for the hard-won, groundbreaking agreement reached between Iran and the so-called P5+1 group after 18 straight days of talks that capped almost two years of momentous negotiations.
Jafari also rebuked what he described as a propaganda campaign “the enemies” launched in an attempt to create “fake polarities” within Iranian society over the nuclear issue.
“It seems that some have deliberately created a fake atmosphere in order to ignore such a legal process and block the path to assessing the (nuclear) conclusion in a timely and detailed manner and placing it in a legal path in compliance with the Iranian nation’s interests,” he said.
The historic agreement with Tehran was reached last Tuesday in Vienna by the UN council’s five permanent members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany.
Meanwhile, Iran’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham on Monday rejected Germany’s calls to “rethink” the Islamic Republic’s stance regarding Israel, saying such differences were not new and had not affected other “constructive contacts” between the nations.
Afkham said Iran has “completely different positions on regional issues with Germany, and over the last 35 years we have expressed on many occasions, in negotiations, our positions very clearly,” according to the ISNA news agency.
“The main part of the dialogue is about the prospect of bilateral cooperation and naturally we will express our concerns about the region, including existing threats, including threats of the Zionist regime and the roots of the crises in the region,” she added.
Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s economy minister and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s deputy, had said last week’s nuclear deal means Iran must “bear new responsibilities, at home and abroad.” His comments came during a trip to Tehran aimed at rebuilding badly affected trade ties.