The June 30th deadline for the historic comprehensive nuclear agreement between the Islamic Republic of Iran and several world powers is approaching fast and tensions continue to escalate in the seemingly never ending war of words that has developed around the issue. While many people and political groups support the current version of the agreement, which would include new and innovative methods for monitoring Iran’s nuclear capabilities and nuclear sites, Iran’s top religious and political leader had some interesting demands of his own now that an interim deal has been reached.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the man who has the final say on any action taken by the Iranian state, has finally joined the larger conversation surrounding the possibility of reaching an agreement. His comments echoed those of Iran’s President, Hassan Rouhani, that Iran will ultimately not sign any final comprehensive deal unless all of the sanctions against the state are lifted on the same day as the signing. Sanctions against Iran by world powers, primarily under the leadership of the United States, have been crippling to say the least. The Iranian economy is very dependent on its oil exports, which is where they have been hit the hardest. Sanctions by the European Union and the United States, for example, make it so that Iran has less potential options of who to do business with when it comes to oil.
Will the two Iranian leaders get what they want? That’s hard to say. President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have both said on various occasions that sanctions will be phased out gradually over the course of the agreement. Also, it is hard to determine how much room for negotiation Iran has at the end of the day with a lot of criticism and intense opposition over the deal coming from within the United States government and the Israeli government. France, a major broker in the deal, has also stated that the recent comments by Khamenei demonstrate how difficult it will be to come to final agreements with Iran.
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