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Iran daily: Rouhani and Obama talk tough, even as nuclear deal approaches

Even as their negotiators neared a nuclear deal in Vienna on Tuesday, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and US counterpart Barack Obama publicly maintained firm lines.

Rouhani said in a speech in Tehran, “If we reach a deal, both sides should be committed to it. If the other side breaches the deal, we will go back to the old path, stronger than what they can imagine.”

Iranian State media bolstered Rouhani’s warning as it featured a letter from the Supreme Leader to the President, “Iran Must Boost Defense, Deterrence Power“.

In the letter outlining a National Development Plan, Ayatollah Khamenei said Iran must counter “different types of threats” with progress in research and technology, devoting at least 5% of the Government budget to defense.

In Washington, Obama said that the US could handle failure to reach a deal: “My hope is they [negotiators in Vienna] can achieve an agreement….[But] I’ve said from the start, I will walk away from the negotiations if in fact it’s a bad deal.”

However, Rouhani’s and Obama’s statements did not indicate that the Vienna talks were near collapse. Instead, they appeared to play to domestic audiences as Iran and the 5+1 Powers (US, Britain, France, China, Russia, and Germany) pursued compromises to deliver an agreement by July 7.

In the past 72 hours, negotiators from each sides have pointed to breakthroughs on key issues such as Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium, inspections of military sites, and the timing of the removal of UN, European Union, and US sanctions.

See Iran Analysis: 3 Signs that A Nuclear Deal Is “Within Reach”

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi put out a cautious public statement on Wednesday morning, citing the “positive climate” of the discussions while saying:

There remain issues of difference on which no agreement has been reached yet, and there are certain texts which have not been written down yet. In fact, we are working on them round the clock.

Araqchi repeated the standard Iranian line, “An agreement should be a good one and a good agreement is the one that complies with the principles, frameworks and red lines set especially by the [Supreme] Leader and in that case we will agree to a deal.”

by Iran Daily