President Hassan Rohani has praised the new interim deal with world powers on the Iranian nuclear program as a positive first step, but says there is still long journey ahead to reach a comprehensive accord.
Speaking on state-run television on November 26 to mark his government’s first 100 days in office, Rohani said there are some forces in the world, and probably in Iran, who oppose the deal.
But he pledged to push forward with discussions with the international community to resolve the issue and achieve the lifting of sanctions against the Islamic republic.
"There are some in the world who are trying to prevent [the nuclear issue] from being resolved," Rohani said. "It is possible that there are some also inside the country who want to act childishly. Inside the country, we're seeing a good unity and solidarity on domestic issues."
Rohani also suggested that the accord had "isolated" Israel, a regional rival of Iran that had strongly opposed the accord that was reached on November 24 in Geneva.
U.S. allies Israel and Saudi Arabia, as well as some members of the U.S. Republican Party, have opposed the deal. They argue it was a mistake that will permit Iran to continue with its nuclear program while weakening world pressure on Tehran.
This position has been rejected by U.S. President Barack Obama, who has said the deal rolls back Iran’s drive toward a potential nuclear weapon, enhancing U.S. security, while providing an opportunity for Iran and the West to end decades of mistrust.
Iran denies Western allegations that its nuclear program is aimed at the eventual production of an atomic weapon.
The deal has been given a time frame of six months, during which it is hoped Iran and the world powers -- the United States, Russia, France, Germany, China, and Britain -- will build confidence and negotiate a more permanent settlement.
In his televised remarks on November 26, Rohani suggested the agreement will benefit the struggling Iranian economy.
Rohani acknowledged the deep problems in the economy, which include inflation at about 40 percent and unemployment above 10 percent.
He said sanctions had played a role in Iran's economic problems, but that mismanagement under his predecessor, former President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, was a more decisive influence.
"I don't want to say that all of our economic problems are because of sanctions," he said. "[Mismanagement] was the primary reason for our economic problems. When we were moving toward sanctions, and the [previous] government knew we were moving toward sanctions, and it would call sanctions a piece of paper, it increased its dependence on [imports]."
The president, who is seen as a moderate in Iran’s Islamic system, also vowed that Iran would continue with uranium-enrichment work, but would do so with transparency and within international guidelines.
Under the interim agreement, Iran is to limit its enrichment to 5 percent purity, well below the threshold needed to make a nuclear weapon.
An opinion poll conducted by the Reuters news agency and the Ipsos research firm suggests that more than 40 percent of Americans support the interim nuclear deal. According to the survey, 44 percent of Americans support the deal, while 22 percent oppose it.
The poll also found that 63 percent of Americans believe Iran’s nuclear program is intended to develop an atomic bomb.
The poll of 591 people was given a credibility margin of plus or minus 4.9 percent.
With reporting by AFP, AP, and dpa