Ayatollah Khamenei: agreement can be basis for ‘next steps’

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After Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council reached an interim agreement on Iran’s nuclear program that limits parts of Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for partial sanctions relief, President Hassan Rouhani and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei exchanged public letters of gratitude.

What is notable about the public letters is that both the president and supreme leader stressed the “next steps” of the negotiations. This interim deal is a 6-month deal that both sides hope will lead to a permanent deal.

In response to Rouhani’s letter, Ayatollah Khamenei wrote: “What you have gained, an appreciation and thanks for the nuclear negotiation body and officials is befitting, and can be the basis for the next wise steps. Undoubtedly, the … prayers and the backing of the Iranian nation was the factor in this success, and will be in the future. God willing, persistence against those who want too much has to always be the criteria for the straight path of the officials, and will always be, God willing.”

Rouhani had originally written to the supreme leader: “I thank the God almighty, that in the beginning of the administration of hope and prudence, the children of your revolution, in difficult and complex negotiations, were able to prove the rights of the Iranian nation in nuclear activity at the international level, and took the first steps in a way that the nuclear rights and the right of enrichment of Iran was acknowledged by the world powers — who for years tried to deny that — and the path for the next big steps in protecting the technology and economy of the country has been taken.”

The letter continued: “Success in these negotiations showed that observing all of the principles and red lines of the system, by presenting the logical and reasonable positions of the Iranian nation … the big powers also respected the rights of the Iranian nation. And the next steps also, in the direction of solving the final differences can be taken with strength.

“Certain achievements of this first agreement, is the official recognition of Iran’s nuclear rights and the protection of nuclear achievements of the children of this country, and following that, the suspension of the process of oppressive sanctions, taking away parts of the illegal pressure of the unilateral sanctions and the collapse the sanctions regime has begun.

“As a result, this Islamic Iranian initiative and the perseverance of the great nation of Iran, has [caused] the big powers to reach this collision that pressure and sanctions will not take the path anywhere [lead to a dead end]. And just as Iran stated from the beginning, to acquire an agreement, there is no path but mutual respect and dignified negotiations, an issue that unfortunately the opposing side understood late. Without a doubt the outcome of this agreement, will be in the interests of all the countries in the region and will be in the direction of world peace and progress with a win-win approach.”

Rouhani ended his letter by thanking Ayatollah Khamenei for this “guidance and support,” the Iranian people and the country’s “nuclear martyrs.” Rouhani today also met with the families of nuclear scientists who had been assassinated. His office later tweeted pictures of the meeting.

Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, also wrote a public letter of appreciation to the president and the supreme leader. As Ayatollah Khamenei and Rouhani stressed the “next steps,” Salehi, too, said, “There is hope that the opposing sides will also use the opportunity that has come into existence for equal cooperation on the basis of mutual respect.”