Iran will not sink ‘to knees’ on nuclear deal

Supreme leader criticises “US and European colonialist countries” but gives indirect approval for continuation of talks.

Negotiators failed to seal an agreement on Monday, but all sides agreed to continue negotiations into 2015 [AFP]

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader has, said that Western powers will not be able to bring the country to its knees in nuclear talks, but gave his indirect approval for a continuation of the negotiations.

Iran and major global powers agreed on Monday to extend talks into next year after failing to meet a November 24 deadline.

The US, UK, Russia, China, France and Germany agreed with Iran to try to sign a political deal by 1 March, with confirmation of the full technical details of the agreement by July 1.

In his first remarks since the extension of the deadline, Khamenei said: “On the nuclear issue, the United States and European colonialist countries gathered and applied their entire efforts to bring the Islamic Republic to its knees, but they could not and they will not,”

Khamenei made the remarks to a group of clerics, according to his website.

In a nationwide broadcast on Monday, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani told the nation that it “has achieved a significant victory” and “negotiations will lead to a deal, sooner or later”.

Rouhani also said many obstacles in the talks “have been eliminated”.

But he also vowed that Tehran would not relinquish its right to nuclear capability.

“Our nuclear rights should be admitted by the world,” Rouhani said. “We will continue the talks.”

‘Down with America’

Other Iranian politicians showed a mix of cautious optimism and defiance on Tuesday.

Former UK envoy to Iran discusses nuclear talks

Mohammad Hassan Aboutorabifard, vice-chairman of the parliament, said the US was not trustworthy since Washington “sacrifices” its national interests for Israel, but he still voiced support for further nuclear talks.

Parliamentarians in attendance responded to his remarks by chanting, “Down with America”.

Mansour Haghighatpour, a member of the parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy, told the AP news agency that the extension of the talks proved: “Iran does not give in its long-term interests”.

“Our national interests should remain intact,” said Haghighatpour. “We had never pinned our hopes to the deal.”

Iran has denied its nuclear research has any sort of military dimension, saying it is focused on peaceful uses like power generation and medical treatments.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies