Iran’s Rouhani touts deal as Win-Win, says will improve ties with neighbors


Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
Iran’s nuclear deal with six world powers this past week will lead to better relations between the Islamic state and its neighbors, Iranian President Hassan Rouhanisaid Saturday.

Mr. Rouhani, in a Twitter post describing a phone conversation with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, said there was “no doubt” the deal would lead to closer ties, especially with Qatar.

Mr. Rouhani didn’t elaborate on how relations with neighbors would improve. Many Gulf Arab states, led by Saudi Arabia, are suspicious of Tuesday’s accord because it benefits Iran, their chief regional rival.

Under the deal, Iran is to get sanctions relief in exchange for new restrictions on its nuclear program. Western governments have long suspected Iran’s program of seeking nuclear weapons, a charge Iran has always denied.

In a meeting with government officials Saturday, Mr. Rouhani praised the work of Iran’s nuclear negotiators and called the deal an achievement. He called the deal a “win-win” for those involved.

“Today no one in the world says that the Islamic Republic of Iran has been defeated, has surrendered or has signed a nondignified deal,” Mr. Rouhani said, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency. “Thank God, what was desired by the great Iranian nation and the Supreme Leader has been achieved so far.”

Mr. Rouhani’s comments followed a Saturday morning speech by the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in which he expressed a mixture of praise for the deal and scorn for the U.S.

The deal won’t lead Iran away from its anti-Americanism, a core policy since the Iranian revolution in 1979, Mr. Khamenei said.

Mr. Khamenei’s stance is being closely watched because he has final say in most matters of state and could back out of the deal. He stopped short of explicitly endorsing it Saturday, but he also didn’t reject it.

In the U.S., the deal still faces a hurdle in Congress, which has a 60-day window to weigh in. A rejection of the deal would need a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate to override a promised veto by PresidentBarack Obama.

Mr. Obama, for whom the deal has been a top foreign-policy priority, has sought to assure Israel as well as Saudi Arabia and other Gulf allies that the U.S. remains committed to their security despite mending fences with Iran. Mr. Obama met with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Friday, in part to discuss the Iran deal, according to the White House.