Rouhani Says Iran Rejects Threats, Cites Red Lines in Nuclear Talks
Geneva – President Hassan Rouhani, architect of Iran’s diplomatic opening to big powers, said on Sunday it would not yield to any threats or discrimination in an apparent bid to keep hardliners on side as Tehran edges toward a deal on its nuclear program. He was speaking to the Iranian parliament, a bastion of conservatives, a day after the Islamic Republic and the six powers narrowed differences at talks in Geneva and decided to resume them on November 20 to try to defuse a decade-old stand-off and fears of a drift towards a new Middle East war.
The sides seemed on the verge of a breakthrough before cracks materialized among U.S. and European allies as France declined to endorse the proposal under discussion, believing it did not adequately neutralize the risk of an Iranian atom bomb. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told France Inter radio that Paris desired a nuclear settlement with Iran but could not accept a “fool’s game” – in other words, a weak deal.
Rouhani told the Iranian parliament that his negotiators had told their big power interlocutors in Geneva, “We will not answer to any threat, sanction, humiliation or discrimination.” He did not elaborate on his reference to threats against Iran, but Netanyahu’s condemnation of the talks loomed large, as did the ideological resistance of Iranian conservatives to any mending of fences with the West.
By “discrimination” and “humiliation”, he may have been alluding to pressure from hawks in the West for Iran to scrap its entire nuclear program, which Tehran says is wholly peaceful in nature. “The Islamic Republic has not and will not bow its head to threats from any authority,” Rouhani said. “For us there are red lines that cannot be crossed. National interests are our red lines that include our rights under the framework of international regulations and (uranium) enrichment in Iran.” (Reuters)