Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said that his country will fulfill all its obligations under Thursday’s historic nuclear agreement, which he hailed as the start of a “new page” of cooperation between Tehran and the international community.
Rouhani spoke live on state television on Friday a day after diplomats in Switzerland agreed on a framework deal that provides the basis for a more comprehensive nuclear agreement.
He said the Iranian nuclear program would pose no threat to the world and told countries in the Middle East that Tehran wants better relations.
“Today is a day that will remain in the historical memory of the Iranian nation,” the moderate cleric said as he thanked Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and the country’s negotiating team, led by Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif, on the outcome that he said was “win-win” for both sides.
Under the tentative agreement, restrictions are to be placed on Iran’s enrichment of uranium so that it is unable to use the material in nuclear weapons. In return, the US and EU are to terminate all nuclear-related economic sanctions on Iran once the UN nuclear agency confirms that Iran has complied.
Rouhani devoted a great deal of his speech to the issue of sanctions, as it effects ordinary lives in Iran.
“This government had promised that centrifuges should spin, but so should people’s lives... This aim is in reach now more than any other time in previous weeks and days,” he said. “On the day that the agreement comes to force, all economic, banking sanction and all resolutions against Iran will be lifted.”
The Iranian president, who came to power on promises of ending the nuclear stalemate during his campaign, said that the world has admitted the country’s nuclear program is peaceful.
“I say very clearly that our enrichment [program] and nuclear technology will only be for Iran’s progress and will not be used against any country,” he said.
He promised that his country would not cheat if the other side also abides by its obligations under the agreement.
“The world should know that we are not deceptive and are not liars, and any promises we give will be within framework of our national interests and we will live up to our promises provided that the opposite side abides by its promises as well,” he said.
Rouhani said that if nuclear talks lead to a comprehensive agreement, which is due by the end of June, it would provide a basis for more cooperation on other issues, especially as Iran has increasingly become involved in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq.
“From the day the agreement is implemented, there will be a new page in Iran’s cooperation with the world both on the nuclear issue and other issues,” he said.
He added: “We want better relations with the countries that we have had cold relations with, if there is tension between us and some countries, we want to end this animosity and end tensions.”
Earlier on Friday, Zarif, who is the country’s head nuclear negotiator, returned to Tehran to a hero’s welcome as thousands of people greeted him at Tehran airport. Iranians hope the deal will end years of international isolation and economic hardship — and avert the threat of war.
On Thursday night, jubilant Iranians took to the streets within hours of the news breaking in Lausanne.
Drivers in Tehran honked their car horns even after midnight as men and women waved flags and showed victory signs from open windows.
In an unprecedented move, Iran’s national TV also broadcast US President Barack Obama’s Thursday speech on the agreement live.
“Everyone is happy,” an Iranian journalist based in Tehran said. “You can see it in people’s faces. This agreement is lifting up their heart.”
Many experts predict that the country’s currency, the rial, is set to benefit from the breakthrough almost immediately.
The leader of Friday prayers, Ayatollah Imami Kashani, who often reflects the political mood among the conservative faction of the Islamic republic, said: “The Lausanne declaration was a success. We should congratulate Zarif. The world finally accepted that Iran should have a nuclear program for peaceful and technological purposes.”
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — who is yet to announce his views of the breakthrough — has strongly supported Rouhani’s nuclear diplomacy in the past. As a result of Khamenei’s backing, hardliners refrained from attacking Zarif during the talks.
However, Hossein Shariatmadari, the editor of the Kayhan state newspaper, was quick to denounce the framework agreement.
“We gave them a saddled horse and they gave back some broken reins,” local media quoted him as saying.
A small group of Iranian MPs echoed Shariatmadari and said any agreement should be endorsed by the country’s parliament, the majlis.
Seyed Hossein Naghavi, spokesman for a parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy, said: “We will not recognize an agreement that would not lead to a complete lifting of all sanctions.”
Ismail Kowsari, another MP from the committee, also said that Iran had not achieved its goal of all sanctions being lifted.
However, overall, the framework agreement has garnered a great deal of support within Iran.
“I feel very proud as an Iranian,” university professor Kazem Sadjadpour said on state TV on Thursday night. “This is a turning point in Iran’s history of diplomacy. This is a night of mourning for [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and his warmongering allies in the US congress.”