TEHRAN, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said a proposed nuclear deal with the West must remove all sanctions against Iran.
Speaking Wednesday to a Tehran audience commemorating the 1979 Islamic Revolution which deposed the Shah and installed the current government, Rouhani demanded "an agreement that protects our dignity and respect," referring to an alliance of six Western nations, led by the United States, seeking to reduce Iran's nuclear weapon-making capability. Iran has claimed, for 12 years, its nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes.
Rouhani spoke of a "win-win" situation as the outcome of the negotiations, with Iranian transparency in its nuclear program exchanged for an end to "wrong, inhumane and illegal" sanctions.
Negotiators have set a deadline of June 30 to finalize a deal, and both Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Jarvad Zarif and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry have said it would be unproductive to extend negotiations. Officials of both sides have expressed hope a framework on an accord will be reached by March, and the U.S. Congress is considering additional sanctions to persuade Iran to take negotiations more seriously.
Iran noted its anniversary with massive rallies across the country, in which "An agreement without conditions; America has to remove sanctions" was a prominent rallying slogan, and earlier in the week Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei suggested a compromise, in which neither side received all it sought, would be acceptable.
Khamenei's comments were the strongest indication yet the Iranian government approved of Rouhani's attempts to negotiate with the West.