Senior Iranian cleric urges Tehran, Washington to 'join hands'

October 4, 2013 19:29

A senior Iranian cleric urged Washington and Tehran on Friday to "join hands" to end sanctions, local media reported, underlining the support of Iran's influential religious establishment for President Hassan Rouhani's diplomatic offensive.

Rouhani made overtures to the West last week during a visit to the UN headquarters in New York and then spoke by telephone with US President Barack Obama in the highest-level contact between the two countries since 1979.

The US lead negotiator with Iran, Under-Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, has held out the possibility of giving Iran some short-term sanctions relief in return for concrete steps to slow uranium enrichment and shed light on its nuclear programme.

"We await practical measures by US officials," cleric Kazem Sedighi told worshippers at Friday prayers in Tehran, according to Iranian television.

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