Tehran: Iran sought on Sunday to calm hard-line worries over groundbreaking exchanges with Washington, saying a single phone conversation between the American and Iran presidents is not a sign that relations with will be quickly restored.
The comments by Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi appeared tailored to address Iranian factions, including the powerful Revolutionary Guard, that have grown uneasy over fast-paced outreach last week between the White House and President Hassan Rowhani, which was capped by a 15-minute call with President Barack Obama.
"Definitely, a history of high tensions between Tehran and Washington will not go back to normal relations due to a phone call, meeting or negotiation," Araghchi was quoted by the semi-official Far news agency as saying.
Rowhani seeks to restart stalled talks over its nuclear programme in the hopes of easing
US-led sanctions. Iran, however, has not clarified what concessions it is willing to make with its nuclear programme in exchange.
Araghchi also reiterated statements by Iran`s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who said he no longer opposes direct talks with Washington but is not optimistic about the potential outcome. Khamenei appears to have given Rouhani authority to handle the nuclear talks with world powers, scheduled to resume in Geneva in two weeks, and seek possible broader contacts with the Obama administration.
"We never trust America 100 per cent," said Araghchi. "And, in the future, we will remain on the same path. We will never trust them 100 per cent."
The divisions over Rowhani`s overtures were on display Saturday when he returned from New York. Supporters welcomed him with cheers, but a smaller pocket of protesters shouted insults.
The US and Iran broke ties after the 1979 Islamic Revolution when mobs stormed the US Embassy in Tehran. A total of 52 hostages were held for 444 days.
A hard-line lawmaker Hamid Rasaei criticised the phone call as "breaking the resistance brand" of Iran, a reference to the self-promoted idea that Iran is the anchor for opposition to Israel and Western influence in the region.
He said acceptance of Obama`s phone call by Rowhani was "undignified" and allowed the US to claim Iran seeks to modify its policies.
"You converted a win-lose game to a win-win one" for the US, he said during a parliament session today.
Another conservative lawmaker, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of the influential parliamentary committee, interpreted the phone call in a positive way as Rowhani trying to help the "failing reputation" of Obama.