TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s supreme leader said Thursday “there will be no deal” if world powers insist on suspending rather than lifting sanctions as part of a landmark nuclear agreement, and said it is up to Iran’s parliament, and not him, to approve or reject it.
His remarks, read aloud by a state TV anchorman, mark the first official comment on the deal since U.S. President Barack Obama secured enough support to prevent the Republican-led Congress from blocking it.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has yet to express a clear opinion on the deal clinched in July, which would curb Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for relief from crippling sanctions.
Khamenei said some U.S. officials have spoken of the “suspension” of sanctions, which he said is unacceptable.
“If the sanctions are going to be suspended, then we will also fulfil our obligations on the ground at the level of suspension and not in a fundamental way,” he said.
In response, White House press secretary Josh Earnest reiterated the Obama administration’s stance that it would focus on Tehran’s actions and not its words.
Washington has been “crystal clear about the fact that Iran will have to take a variety of serious steps to significantly roll back their nuclear program before any sanction relief is offered,” he said.
Iran’s supreme leader has traditionally had the final say on all important matters, but on Thursday Khamenei said lawmakers should decide on the deal.
March 21, 2019
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