“Facing Hard-Liners and Sanctions, Iran’s Leader Toughens Talk”
The New York Times, August 31, 2014, p.A11
“For more than a year, Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, had been walking a political tightrope by trying to restore some level of relations with the country’s archenemy, the United States. His hard-line opponents pelted him with eggs for his efforts, while those who voted for him hoped for a possible thaw. … But on Saturday Mr. Rouhani struck a starkly different tone. In a news conference that marked his being in office more than a year, Mr. Rouhani echoed the longstanding Iranian view that the United States can never be trusted. Not only did he rule out any cooperation on fighting regional terrorist groups (after suggesting the idea himself last month), he also hinted that American actions were responsible for creating the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, as well as Al Qaeda and the Taliban, a mantra offered by the Iranian leadership. … In addition, he expressed doubt about whether the United States had ‘adequate good will’ to resolve the nuclear issue, and called new sanctions by the Obama administration over the nuclear program ‘a very ugly move.’ … Some analysts said Mr. Rouhani’s angry tone Saturday might be aimed at pre-empting criticism from influential hard-liners who may be waiting for the right moment to attack the government. Already some hard-liners are calling for an end to the talks because of the new sanctions.”
Quickie Analysis: Rouhani has received precious few “deliverables” for his initial softer stance on the US. Due to domestic pressures, his clock is ticking.