TEHRAN: The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said yesterday that President Hasan Rowhani 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 United Nations 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 United States.”
“If we see errors being made by officials, the revolutionary forces will issue the necessary warnings,” said Jafari.
He said Washington should respond to the goodwill shown by Rowhani in New York by “lifting all sanctions against the Iranian nation, releasing Iranian assets frozen in the United States, ending its hostility towards Iran and accepting Iran’s nuclear programme.”
The commander of the Guards air wing General Amir-Ali Hadjizadeh told the corps’ own sepahnews.com website that “US hostility can’t be forgotten with a phone call and a smile”.