Iran hard-liners criticise Geneva deal, call it 'poison chalice'

Hard-line Iranian lawmakers criticised a nuclear deal reached in Geneva last week, with one calling it a 'poisoned chalice,' but a majority of deputies who spoke today in a parliamentary hearing on the accord backed an initiative that appears to enjoy both wide public support and the endorsement of top clerics.

hidden November 28, 2013 03:42:06 IST
Iran hard-liners criticise Geneva deal, call it 'poison chalice'

Tehran: Hard-line Iranian lawmakers criticised a nuclear deal reached in Geneva last week, with one calling it a "poisoned chalice," but a majority of deputies who spoke today in a parliamentary hearing on the accord backed an initiative that appears to enjoy both wide public support and the endorsement of top clerics.

Having signed the first-stage accord that curbs Iranian nuclear activity in exchange for limited relief from sanctions, President Hassan Rouhani and his foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif now have the task of trying to convince skeptics that they are not compromising on key issues of national sovereignty.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has publically supported nuclear negotiators and opposition to the deal seems limited, but opinion can shift quickly in Iran and Rouhani's task will become more delicate as the country moves toward a final accord six months from now.

Iran hardliners criticise Geneva deal call it poison chalice

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, center, poses next to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, center right. AP

In the debate broadcast live on state radio, Zarif tried to deflect criticism by noting that some construction will continue at the planned Arak heavy water reactor, whose advancement was effectively frozen by the Geneva accord.

Zarif pointed out the building projects would not involve areas covered by the deal, including the installation of new equipment or work toward making the reactor operational. But even minor progress at Arak could bring claims by Israel and other opponents of the deal that Iran is violating its rules and spirit.

AP

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