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Following Iran Nuke Deal Vote, Rouhani Doubles Down on Demand for Sanctions Relief

A day after a Senate committee unanimously approved a bill mandating congressional review of any nuclear deal with Iran before sanctions can be lifted, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told a crowd that “if there is no end to sanctions, there will not be an agreement,” Reuters reported today.

“If there is no end to sanctions, there will not be an agreement,” Rouhani said in a televised speech in the northern Iranian city of Rasht, echoing remarks made last week by Iran’s most powerful authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“The end of these negotiations and a signed deal must include a declaration of cancelling the oppressive sanctions on the great nation of Iran,” said Rouhani, who is widely viewed as a pragmatist.

Rouhani’s comments were apparently in response to the unanimous support the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 received yesterday from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In a stunning reversal of his longstanding opposition to the bill, the White House announced that President Barack Obama would likely sign the bill. It is thought that the president reversed himself when it was clear that the bill would enjoy veto-proof majorities in both houses of Congress.

Rouhani’s comments echoed similar ones that he made earlier this month, after understandings were reached between the P5+1 nations and Iran on the parameters of a nuclear deal. After the understandings were announced, Rouhani said, “On the basis of this framework, all sanctions in financial, economic and banking sectors as well as all (UN Security Council) sanctions resolutions against Iran will be canceled on the very first day of the implementation of the deal…” Rouhani’s demand for immediate sanctions relief is at odds with the American position that “U.S. and E.U. nuclear-related sanctions will be suspended after the IAEA has verified that Iran has taken all of its key nuclear-related steps.”

[Photo: Υπουργείο Εξωτερικών / Flickr ]