Nuclear Deal Critics Draw Presidential Rebuke

Nuclear Deal Critics Draw Presidential Rebuke  Nuclear Deal Critics Draw Presidential Rebuke

President Hassan Rouhani denounced critics of the July 14 nuclear agreement with major powers, suggesting their position is against national interests.

"(The deal) has widely been acknowledged as a great achievement for Iran and a source of honor for the Iranian people," the president said. "Whose interests those who question the honor of the nation are serving?"

He made the remarks in a speech at a ceremony in Tehran on Monday to mark National Village Day, IRNA reported.  

Rouhani vowed to respond in "due time" to criticisms against the accord, which will give Iran sanctions relief in exchange for temporary limits on its nuclear program.

Referring to the recent deadly incident during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia which killed hundreds of pilgrims, Rouhani said his government is working hard to restore the rights of the victims.

The deceased were from 20 countries, he said, noting, "Iran made the greatest effort to identify its victims and was the first to have their bodies repatriated."

The Saudis faced intense criticism from Iranian officials who denounced their ineptitude in dealing with the situation.

"The pilgrims suffered a painful death due to the incompetence, imprudence and lack of planning and other faults (of Saudi officials) which should be investigated."

He lamented that the unthinkable happened despite the modern monitoring and rescue equipment.

"Imprudence was not only what started the disaster, but it was also evident in the way Saudi authorities handled the situation."

On the upcoming parliamentary and Assembly of Experts elections, both scheduled for February 26, 2016, Rouhani stressed his government's impartial position, saying, "The government makes no distinction between this and that camp or this and that faction."

"What matters is that those who qualify the most and care about national interests" be elected, he added.