President Hassan Rouhani, stepping up his defence of a nuclear deal under attack by Iran’s conservatives, said on Thursday the historic agreement with world powers was “more valuable” than a domestic debate about its fine details.
The elite Revolutionary Guards, a powerful political and military force, has started to attack the deal as endangering Iran’s security and have also hit out at a U.N. Security Council resolution passed on Monday endorsing it.
In remarks that will be seen as admonishing critics of the accord, Rouhani said in a televised speech: “Now they are scrutinising one by one the terms of the deal reached in Vienna and the UN Security Council’s resolution 2231.
“That’s good but what has happened is more valuable and more significant than that,” he told a medical conference in Tehran.
“How can one be an Iranian and not cheer for our negotiating team?” Rouhani added referring to Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, both of whom were present for Rouhani’s speech.
Rouhani argued that the deal reflected the nation’s will and suggested that blocking the accord would ignore what the people had asked for when they elected him to office in 2013.
“This is a new page in history. It didn’t happen when we reached the deal in Vienna on July 14, it happened on 4th of August 2013 when the Iranians elected me as their president.”
Rouhani and U.S. President Barack Obama both have to win support for the nuclear accord from hardliners at home.
In the case of Iran, the deal must get final acceptance from the National Security Council and ultimately from Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s highest authority. He has withheld final judgment, thanking the negotiators while saying the text must still be scrutinised and approved.