Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is stressing that a framework agreement with the West is no guarantee a final deal will be reached to scale back Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for lifting international sanctions.
In an address Thursday, Khamenei said he is "neither for nor against" the interim agreement reached last week by Iran and six world powers, insisting the deal is unfinished and non-binding.
However, Iran's most powerful official did express his continued support for the negotiations and said he is open to a compromise deal that "respects Iran's dignity and honor."
The cleric also slammed the United States for releasing a fact sheet following the talks that outlined Washington's interpretation of the agreement - a move he said reflected "devilish intentions."
Tehran and Washington have repeatedly disagreed over several key details, including the speed at which international sanctions against Iran would be lifted once a final deal is reached.
In a speech earlier Thursday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tehran would not accept any final deal unless all international sanctions are lifted.
"We will not sign any agreement unless all economic sanctions are lifted at once, on the very first day of the implementation of the agreement," Rouhani said at a speech to mark Iran's "National Nuclear Technology Day."
Iran has repeatedly demanded the sanctions be removed immediately and permanently, while the United States prefers a more gradual phasing-out process to ensure Iranian compliance.
Iran and the West have set a June 30 deadline to work out their disagreements, though Khamenei said Thursday it would not be "the end of the world" if that deadline were extended.
In comments that reflect another area of dispute, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry late Wednesday told the PBS Newshour that Iran must disclose its past alleged military-related nuclear activities if a final deal is to be reached.
"They have to do it. It will be done. If there's going to be a deal, it will be done. It will be done," Kerry said.
The U.S. government and many of its allies believe Iran's nuclear program is aimed at producing a weapon, despite Iran's insistence that the program is for civilian energy purposes.
Iran so far has refused to offer an explanation for findings by the U.N. nuclear watchdog that suggest certain parts of Tehran's nuclear program have only military-related uses.
The U.S. and Iran have both released their own bullet-point interpretations of the framework agreement, since officials said they could not agree on a comprehensive document.
Neither the questions surrounding the military dimensions of Iran's nuclear program nor the sanctions relief issue were clearly spelled out in the U.S. document.
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