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On Revolution Day, Iran's President Calls For A 'Win-Win' Nuke Deal

Iranian schoolgirls wave their national flag during the 36th anniversary of the Islamic revolution in Azadi Square in Tehran, Iran, on Wednesday.
Behrouz Mehri
AFP/Getty Images
Iranian schoolgirls wave their national flag during the 36th anniversary of the Islamic revolution in Azadi Square in Tehran, Iran, on Wednesday.

Iran celebrated the 36th anniversary of Islamic Revolution on Wednesday with the traditional anti-American chants. But the country's top leaders have also raised the possibility of working out a nuclear deal with the U.S. and other world powers.

The deal, though still uncertain at best, could transform Iran's place in the world after decades of confrontation with West.

The supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has often expressed skepticism and defiance about a potential deal. But he sounded a more positive note in recent days.

"I would go along with the agreement in the making," he said Sunday while speaking to the air force.

Khamenei went on to say he would support an agreement that meets Iran's interest, said NPR's Steve Inskeep, who is reporting this week from Iran's capital Tehran.

President Hassan Rouhani made similar remarks at a ceremony Wednesday in Tehran's Azadi Square that commemorated the 1979 revolution that brought Iran's Shiite clerics to power.

"The sanctions have not forced Iran to enter the talks but the impracticality of the all-out pressures on Iran and the significant advancements in Iran's peaceful nuclear program made the United States come to the negotiation table," Rouhani said. "Iran is seeking a 'win-win' outcome in the nuclear talks with world powers."

The atmosphere was celebratory and defiant at once, Inskeep told Morning Edition host Renee Montagne. As usual, Iranians chanted "Death to America" and also denounced Israel.

But Rouhani framed his comments in a way that made it seem like he was "trying to prepare his people to accept an agreement," Inskeep reported. "He is saying, we are not surrendering, that this can be a good thing."

"There's some defiant-sounding language there but it seems calculated to move people in his direction," Inskeep added.

One of the fundamental questions that remains is whether there is the political will to make a deal with the United States.

There is a sense of eagerness for change on the streets and in the business community, even from the leader of a political party associated with the supreme leader," Inskeep noted.

"The question of whether details can be worked out in accordance to the desires of Iran's military establishment, that perhaps is the biggest question left," Inskeep said.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Steve Inskeep is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.
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