Iran's Khamenei demands all sanctions end when nuclear deal signed

Iran's Khamenei demands all sanctions end when nuclear deal signed
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addressing thousands of Iranians in the northeast holy city of Mashhad.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Thursday demanded that all sanctions on Iran be lifted at the same time as any final agreement with world powers on curbing Tehran's nuclear programme is concluded.

Khamenei, the Islamic Republic's most powerful figure and who has the last say on all state matters, was making his first comments on the interim deal reached last week in the Swiss city of Lausanne.

He repeated his faith in President Hassan Rouhani's negotiating team. But in remarks apparently meant to keep hardline loyalists on side, he warned about the "devilish" intentions of the United States.

"I neither support nor oppose the deal. Everything is in the details, it may be that the deceptive other side wants to restrict us in the details," Khamenei said in a speech broadcast live on state television.

His stand on the lifting of sanctions matched earlier comments by Rouhani, who said Iran would only sign a final nuclear accord if all measures imposed over its disputed atomic work are lifted on the same day.

These include nuclear-related United Nations resolutions as well as US and EU nuclear-related economic sanctions.

"All sanctions should be removed when the deal is signed. If the sanctions removal depends on other processes, then why did we start the negotiations?" Khamenei said.

The US State Department on Thursday repeated its position that sanctions against Iran would be removed gradually.

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"Under the agreed-upon parameters, sanctions will be suspended in a phased manner upon verification that Iran has met specific commitments," State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said. He declined to react specifically to the Iranian leadership's comments.

France, one of the powers to forge the interim deal, said on Thursday that many differences, including on sanctions, needed to be overcome if a final agreement was to be reached.

The US and EU sanctions have choked off nearly 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of Iranian exports since early 2012, reducing its oil exports by 60 per cent to around 1 million barrels a day.

The tentative accord was a step toward a settlement that would allay Western fears that Iran could build an atomic bomb, with economic sanctions on Tehran being lifted in return.

Negotiators from Iran, the United States, Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China will resume negotiations in the coming days to pave the way for a final deal.

One problem is that Iran and the world powers may have different interpretations on what was agreed in the framework accord - a point Khamenei made evident.

"Americans put out a statement just a few hours after our negotiators finished their talks ... this statement, which they called a 'fact sheet', was wrong on most of the issues." Khamenei said.

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