By Erik Wasson - 12/07/13 11:31 AM EST
Rouhani defends nuclear agreement to angry Iranian protestors
Iran's new president on Saturday had to defend his new deal with the U.S. and other western nations before a raucous group of students including some chanting, “death to America,” the Associated Press reported.
AP reported that Hassan Rouhani equated the right to economic development and freedom from sanctions with Iran's right, under the Non-proliferation Treaty, to develop nuclear power.
"Nuclear technology and uranium enrichment is our definite right," Rouhani is reported to have said. "But progress, better living conditions and welfare for the people is also our definite right. Breaking and dismantling the architecture of the ominous and oppressive sanctions is also our definite right."
Under the temporary deal, Iran agreed to limit its enrichment of uranium to levels less conducive to building weapons. In exchange the U.S. and other nations are lifting some sanctions.
The new president urged the crowd to discuss the issue peacefully rather than resorting to hostile chants.
Although Rouhani is Iran's popularly elected leader, ultimate power resides with Supreme Leader and cleric Ali Hosseini Khamenei. If hardline opposition is not pacified, clerics could step in to stop Rouhani's pro-Western reform agenda.