A smiling Hassan Rouhani declared his country the victor in the deal reached with western powers in Geneva Saturday, echoing the very same assessments that Israeli leaders made regarding the agreement.
“World powers have recognized the nuclear rights of Iran,” declared Rouhani to reporters at his presidential palace in Tehran. “The confirmation from the great powers is of huge value.”
The Financial Times reported that Rouhani billed the accord as a turning point for Iran – both internationally and at home – and said that the sanctions regime “had been broken” by the agreement, “whether others like it or not.” With the passage of time, he predicted, the cracks “will widen.”
Also present behind Rouhani were relatives and children of four Iranian scientists killed since 2010 in the covert war against the nuclear program.
Rouhani praised Iran's "supreme leader," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, saying that the nuclear deal would not have been possible without his consent, and his backing of what he has called “heroic flexibility." It is Khamenei's approval that has kept hardliners’ attacks on the nuclear negotiations in check, wrote the Financial Times.
Iran’s state television, which reflects views of fundamentalists opposed to Rouhani, echoed Khamenei's words, portrayed the agreement as an achievement without referring to Iran’s concessions.
Rouhani also called on Iran’s business community, crippled by western sanctions, to see the agreement as a stepping stone toward reviving the economy. “From now on it is your turn,” he said. “We prepared the ground.”
Israel's leadership has similarly assessed that by letting up on the severe sanctions against Iran, the western powers had opened a crack that would be widened by Iran and its trade partners, rendering sanctions much less effective.
Israel lashed out at the agreement-in-the-making last week, saying it offers Iran the "deal of the century."
"I'm concerned, gravely concerned, that this deal will go through and in one stroke of the pen, it will reduce the sanctions on Iran – sanctions that took years to put in place – and in return for this, Iran gives practically nothing," Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at a joint news conference with French President Francois Hollande.