Hardline Newspaper Slams Rouhani For Claiming Sanctions Can Be Lifted Overnight
In an editorial Thursday, Hossein Shariatmadari, editor of the Kayhan newspaper, slammed President Hassan Rouhani for claiming Wednesday that his government would be able to finalize nuclear talks in Vienna "if given authority."
"We can end all sanctions today if they want and if Mr. Araghchi is given [the required] authority [to conclude the talks in Vienna]," Rouhani who considers the 2015 nuclear agreement one of the major achievements of his administration had said.
While Kayhan is funded by the office of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Shariatmadari’s criticism of Iranian nuclear talks with world powers and of contacts with the United States go back well over 20 years, way beyond Rouhani’s election in 2013.
Shariatmadari wrote it was not hard to understand what Rouhani meant by authority to end the sanctions in one day. He suggested the president wanted “to surrender to all of the demands of the Americans…to halt our missile and defense industries, desist our presence in the region and turn into an easy-swallow morsel for the US.”
Under the kind of agreement favored by Rouhani, Shariatmadari argued, Iranians would be sacrificed "under the feet of takfiri terrorists" and have to surrender their wives and daughters to the Islamic State group (Isis) as slaves: "The US has clearly, officially and publicly said that only in such circumstances it will lift the sanctions."
The Kayhan editor was referring to repeated and unsubstantiated accusations by Islamic Republic officials that the United States created and supported extremist Sunni groups, often called takfiris. US officials in turn have said that many of the IEDs used by Sunni militants against US troops during the occupation of Iraq had Iranian origins.
Seventeen civilians died in 2017 in two Isis attacks against the Iranian parliament and the Ruhollah Khomeini mausoleum. Militants with al-Qaeda links have also carried out attacks in mainly-Arab Khuzestan and Iran’s Baluchi south east.
Speaking at a weekly cabinet meeting Wednesday, Rouhani said his government had succeeded in bringing the US to the negotiation table in Vienna and resolving major issues in the way of reviving the 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). He said negotiators in Vienna awaited “authority” to conclude an agreement.
Mahmoud Vaezi, Rouhani’s chief of staff, said Wednesday the US had agreed to remove all sanctions on Iran's oil exports and shipping, and some sanctions on those linked to Khamenei’s office, which could include President-elect Ebrahim Raisi (Raeesi) who was among those sanctioned in 2019 under an executive order of former president Donald Trump. The US has not commented on Vaezi's claims.
The US has not confirmed or denied Vaezi's claims. Reuters quoted a State Department official Wednesday who spoke on condition of anonymity as saying that "nothing is agreed until everything is agreed." "During negotiations of this complexity, negotiators try to draft text that capture the main issues, but again, nothing is agreed until everything is agreed," the source told Reuters.