The commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards said Monday that president Hasan Rouhani should have refused to take last week’s historic telephone call from US counterpart Barack Obama.
It was the first public criticism by a senior Iranian official of Friday’s landmark first contact between leaders of the two countries since the rupture of diplomatic relations in the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic revolution. “The president took a firm and appropriate position during his stay” in New York for the UN General Assembly, General Mohammad Ali Jafari said in an interview with the Tasnimnews.com website.
“But just as he refused to meet Obama, he should also have refused to speak with him on the telephone and should have waited for concrete action by the US.”
The public criticism came despite appeals earlier this month by both Rouhani and supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for the Guards, who have long seen themselves as guardians of the values of the revolution, to steer clear of politics.
Israel warns US about Iran
Mortified that the world may be warming up to Iran, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is taking an unpopular message to the White House and the United Nations this week: Don’t be fooled by Tehran’s new leadership.
Netanyahu contends the Iran ian government is using conciliatory gestures as a smoke screen to conceal an unabated march toward a nuclear bomb.
He will deliver those strong words of caution — and fresh intelligence — in an attempt to persuade the US to maintain tough economic sanctions against Iran.
With the White House cautiously optimistic about its dialogue with Iran, Monday’s meeting between Netanyahu and President Barack Obama could be tense.