Iranian President Hassan Rouhani declared on Tuesday that Iran would continue bolstering its atomic program “forever,” the latest in a string of intransigent statements from top Iranian officials that had already weeks ago been labeled a diplomatic “train wreck” by CNN host Fareed Zakaria.
Rouhani’s boasts came a few days after Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei dismissed hopes for a compromise with the U.S.:
“The Iranian nation should pay attention to the recent negotiations and the rude remarks of the Americans so that everyone gets to know the enemy well,” Khamenei said as the Islamic Republic prepares to celebrate the 35th anniversary of its formation on Feb. 11.
“The Americans speak in their private meetings with our officials in one way, and they speak differently outside these meetings,” Khamenei added. “This is hypocrisy and the bad and evil will of the enemy.”
Regarding the president’s statements, Reuters noted:
Rouhani’s comments appeared largely aimed at a domestic audience rather than signaling any shift away from a thawing in Tehran’s ties with the West since he was elected president last June on a platform of easing its international isolation.
That analysis that has become a mainstay of media reports and political analysis dismissing these and similar statements. Rouhani, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, and former top nuclear negotiator Hossein Mousavian have all in recent weeks, for instance, flatly declared that Iran would not consent to dismantling uranium enrichment centrifuges.
A report published last month by the U.S.-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) calculated that Iran would minimally have to dismantle roughly 15,000 centrifuges, alongside a series of other concessions, under any nuclear deal that could credibly claim to verifiably put Tehran’s nuclear program beyond use for weaponization.
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