Saturday, January 31, 2015

Rouhani: Hardliners ‘Cheering On’ Other Side in Nuclear Talks

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani today accused the country’s hardliners of effectively “cheering on” the other side in Iran’s grueling nuclear negotiations with world powers.

“The other side applauds their own, but here in our country, it is not clear what (the hardliners) are doing. It is as if they are cheering on the rival team,” Rouhani said in a public gathering in Tehran. (IRNA/Reuters, 31 December)

“And when we ask them what they are doing, they answer, ‘We are criticizing and criticism is a good thing’… This is not criticism, it is sabotage of national interests and favor for partisan politics,” Rouhani added.

Rouhani here is alluding to a widely-held suspicion among the moderates and circles close to him that the hardliners prefer to see the nuclear negotiations fail than letting Rouhani and the moderates get credit for ending a 12-year nuclear standoff with the West and securing the lifting of sanctions, which have crippled Iran’s oil-based economy.

The hardliners are weary that Rouhani and the moderates could parlay the success into important victories in the upcoming elections for the Assembly of Experts and Majlis, scheduled for March 2016. The elections for the Assembly of Experts are particularly crucial, as the next Assembly could find itself in a position to choose a new supreme leader if the current leader would be incapacitated due to illness. Khamenei recently underwent surgery for prostate cancer.

File photo: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (IRNA)


Mark Pyruz said...

Rouhani's perspective on national interest and the nuclear talks reminds me of the Leverett's observation of the American side, where instead of Obama depicting a nuclear agreement as being in the U.S. interest, he instead depicts it as being in the Iranian interest. The Leveretts go on to say it's the opposite of perspective that Nixon put forth upon improving Sino-American relations.

Let's face it: it's tough for us doves in both countries.

Nader Uskowi said...

I don't understand the relevance of Leveretts comments to the subject of this post. Obama is not "cheering on" the Iranians to undermine Kerry's position in the nuclear talks. But that's exactly what Rouhani is accusing the hardliners of doing: undermining Zarif and negotiating team's position at the talks, through 'sabotaging' Iranian national interests, Rouhani said.

I do believe that the hardliners are perfectly ready to see the talks fail, than see the moderates register a major victory by ending a 12-year old standoff with the West and ending sanctions. The upcoming elections are so crucial to all.