GENEVA/DUBAI - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday that he would try to clinch a nuclear deal with world powers despite opposition from some quarters in Iran.
Rouhani was speaking as Iran resumed talks with the United States in Geneva on its nuclear program. An eventual deal would remove sanctions imposed on Tehran But his government must sell any agreement to hardliners in the Islamic Republic who are wary of any rapprochement with the West.
"Some people may not like to see the sanctions lifted. Their numbers are few, and they want to muddy the water," Rouhani, widely seen as a pragmatist, told a gathering of officials at a Central Bank seminar in Tehran.
He appeared to refer to hardliners including senior commanders of the elite Revolutionary Guards.
"The overwhelming majority of our nation - intellectuals, academics, theologians, the greats, and the leadership - are in favor of getting the sanctions removed," Rouhani said.
U.S. and Iranian negotiators began a two-day meeting in Geneva before wider talks between Iran and six global powers in the same city on Wednesday on how to end the 12-year dispute over Tehran's nuclear program.