But the US dismissed Tuesday’s comment as playing to a home audience and urged Iran to abide by the deal. (Agencies)
The November 24 agreement commits Tehran to curb its nuclear programmes in exchange for initial sanctions relief over six months as the two sides work toward a permanent agreement. The accord designates the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency to supervise Iranian compliance with terms of the deal.
The 35-nation IAEA board is expected to approve that role at a meeting set for January 24, according to two diplomats. They demanded anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the date ahead of an official IAEA announcement.
Iranian officials have been keen to portray the pact as advantageous to their country in easing sanctions in return for what they say are minimal nuclear concessions.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's remarks about the accord on Tuesday appeared to be part of efforts to bring around hard-liners who have denounced the deal, claiming it tramples on Iran's nuclear rights.
"Do you know what the Geneva agreement means? It means the surrender of the big powers before the great Iranian nation," Rouhani told a crowd in the oil-rich province of Khuzestan.
"The Geneva agreement means the wall of sanctions has broken. The unfair sanctions were imposed on the revered and peace-loving Iranian nation. It means an admission by the world of Iran's peaceful nuclear program," he said.
Rouhani's comments drew a dismissive US response.
"It doesn't matter what they say," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters in Washington, describing the statement as meant for a domestic audience.
"What matters to us is what Iranian leaders do, what Iran does in keeping its commitments in this agreement," said Carney.
The UN agency did not confirm the board meeting but said separate talks in Tehran between Iran and IAEA experts were postponed from January 21 to February 8.
The IAEA is hoping Iran will agree to cooperate in investigating IAEA suspicions that it worked on nuclear weapons, if not during those talks then subsequent ones. Tehran denies working on or wanting such arms.
One of the diplomats said that the Iran-IAEA talks were postponed to allow Iran and the agency to prepare for the implementation of the November 24 deal a view the United States appeared to share.
But the US dismissed Tuesday’s comment as playing to a home audience and urged Iran to abide by the deal.