DUBAI- President Hassan Rouhani has secured the backing of senior conservative clerics against hardliners opposed to a nuclear deal reached with major powers, Iran's official news agency IRNA said on Saturday.

His first vice president, Eshaq Jahangiri, visited clerics in the Shi'ite Muslim holy city of Qom to explain the deal and seek their blessing over "complex foreign policy issues" ahead of talks next month on a long-term accord, IRNA said.

An interim deal between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany was reached in November in Geneva, aimed at persuading Iran to curb parts of its nuclear work, in return for a limited easing of sanctions.

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