DUBAI (Reuters) - The text of a nuclear deal reached between Iran and world powers should be carefully scrutinized and legal procedures taken so the other side does not breach it, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in his first public statements on the accord.
The cautious comments by Khamenei, the ultimate authority on matters of state in Iran, were in sharp contrast to praise lavished on the accord by President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif since it was struck on Tuesday.
Under the deal, sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union and the United Nations will be lifted in return for Iran agreeing long-term curbs on a nuclear program that the West has suspected was aimed at creating a nuclear bomb.
Iran says its program is for peaceful purposes only
In a letter to Rouhani, Khamenei wrote: “Reaching a deal is a significant step, but the text of the deal should be carefully scrutinized and the legal procedures should be taken so when the deal is ratified the other side cannot breach it.”
“Some of the members of the P5+1 are not trustworthy,” he said, referring to the six world powers, in the letter published by state news agency IRNA. He added: “I ask our dear nation to stay calm and united so we can preserve our national interests in a serene and sensible environment.”
In remarks to his cabinet broadcast on television earlier on Wednesday, Rouhani said that while no agreement was perfect, the deal was a political victory for Iran and it meant Tehran would no longer be regarded as a world threat.
In a letter to Khamenei sent on Tuesday evening, Rouhani, a pragmatist cleric elected in 2013 on a pledge to secure a lifting of sanctions and an end to Iran’s international isolation, was again full of praise.
He said, according to a text of the letter issued by IRNA: “This deal is an unprecedented achievement in the history of international affairs as it annuls all the threatening U.N. Security Council resolutions and opens gates for cooperation with Iran even in nuclear energy.”
“The deal is a big lesson to the region that problems can be solved with negotiations and true participation of people rather than intervention, massacre and terrorism,” Rouhani said.
Zarif and Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s nuclear organization will go to the conservative-dominated parliament on July 21 to brief lawmakers, IRNA reported.
Ali Larijani, speaker of the conservative-dominated parliament, said earlier on Wednesday that MPs would examine the agreement in a “constructive spirit”, official media reported.
While Khamenei has the last word on matters of state, any discussion in the assembly will shed light on sentiment inside the political establishment about the historic agreement.
Ali Akbar Velayati, a top adviser to Khamenei, was quoted by the Fars news agency on July 10 as saying any deal reached in Vienna would be preliminary and should be approved by the National Security Council and later by Khamenei.
The secretary of the council, Ali Shamkhani, said the accord was now on top of the council’s agenda, according to IRNA.
The parliament, alongside elements of the judiciary, armed forces and clerical establishment, strongly opposed making any meaningful concessions in the marathon negotiations, and is expected to seize on any perceived abuses by U.N. inspectors or Western powers in the coming months.
The head of parliament’s security committee, Mohammad Reza Mohseni Sani, said MPs would want to examine the implications of the deal for access to a military site at Parchin, saying there appeared to have been a “compromise”, Fars news agency reported.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has repeatedly asked for access to Parchin, where it wants to investigate concerns that Iran has done experiments to assess how specific materials react under high pressure as in a nuclear blast.
For months, Iran had been stalling a U.N. investigation into the possible military aspects of its past nuclear activities, relating mostly to the period before 2003, saying the agency’s data for its investigation was fabricated.
Salehi said on Tuesday the country’s red lines had been respected with regard to international access to Parchin.
The IAEA said on Tuesday it had agreed a roadmap with Iran aimed at resolving all outstanding questions about the country’s nuclear program by the end of the year.
Zarif returned from Vienna on Wednesday, landing first in Mashhad to pray at the burial site of Imam Reza, Iran’s holiest Shi’ite Muslim shrine, before going on to Tehran.
Each year hundreds of thousands of Iranians, and also Shi’ites from neighboring countries, come to the shrine to pray and ask for a brighter future. Mashad is usually the first city newlyweds visit on their honeymoon to ask Imam Reza to bless the new chapter of their life.
Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin Nouri in Dubai, Editing by William Maclean and Andrew Heavens