TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's President Hassan Rouhani criticized domestic opponents of the nuclear deal struck with world powers, a news agency reported Thursday, an apparent rebuke of hard-liners challenging him in the Islamic Republic.
The semi-official ISNA agency quoted Rouhani as telling oil workers in the oil-rich province of Khuzestan: "A group does not want sanctions to be lifted. They are opponent to having normal ties with the world for the sake of their personal interests."
Rouhani did not elaborate. However, hard-liners claim the deal tramples on Iran's enrichment rights and have called it a "poison chalice." Despite that opposition, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters, has supported Iran's nuclear negotiating team, calling them "sons of the revolution" and "our own children."
Last week, the so-called P5+1 world powers — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States — and Iran agreed to make Monday the start of implementing the terms of the Geneva deal struck in November.
Under the deal, Iran agreed to cap its uranium enrichment in return for some sanctions relief from the West.
The West suspects Iran's nuclear program would allow it to build an atomic weapon. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, like power generation and medical treatments.