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TEHRAN — Iran’s most powerful man warned that a tentative agreement on the country’s nuclear program did not make a final deal a sure thing.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also lashed out at the West for allegedly reneging in the past.
“The other side which is known for backpedaling on its commitments may want to corner our country when it comes to the specifics [of the negotiations],” the Islamic republic's supreme leader said on live television in his first public comments since the agreement was announced on April 2. “What has been done so far neither guarantees [the clinching of] an agreement itself and its contents, nor ensures that the negotiations would proceed to the end.”
He added: "They will not be allowed to inspect our military bases."
Khamenei's support for any agreement is crucial to its success. Iran, which Western powers worry is trying to develop an atomic bomb, has engaged in intermittent talks about its disputed nuclear program for over a decade.
Khamenei also said a U.S. fact sheet showing terms of the preliminary pact didn't match the Iranian view of the agreement. He suggested this showed "devilish" U.S. intentions.
President Hassan Rouhani earlier said that Iran would only sign a final agreement if international sanctions were lifted the “same day.” The U.S. has said the sanctions would be phased out gradually.
Iran and the P5+1 — the U.S., Russia, France, U.K., China and Germany — signed the preliminary agreement and negotiators are now working towards a June 30 deadline.
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— Ali Arouzi and F. Brinley Bruton
Reuters contributed to this report. F. Brinley Bruton reported from London.