Iran's hardliners wary of US, West in nuclear talks - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Iran's hardliners wary of US, West in nuclear talks

Iranians rally on Friday to show solidarity with Palestinians.  (Source: CNN) Iranians rally on Friday to show solidarity with Palestinians. (Source: CNN)

TEHRAN (CNN) - As negotiators from Iran try to finalize an international agreement over their country's nuclear program, hardline protesters back home are filling the streets for "Al-Quds" Day.

'Death to Israel’ thousands of hardline protesters chant at a massive demonstration in Tehran. Al-Quds Day is supposed to show Iran's support for the Palestinians. But it mostly turns into a general bashing of Israel and the U.S.

This year, however, with the nuclear talks in a decisive phase,  some protesters offer more constructive opinions. “We welcome international relations,” a man says. “But they have to be fair and balanced, like a good business partnership. We might want to normalize ties with the U.S., but we are not desperate.”

And he adds, “we want relations with the U.S. but they must be genuine. Experience tells us America never sticks to its end of the bargain. We are prepared to die for our principles.”

The Al-Quds Day demonstration is dominated by Iran's conservatives. From generals of the elite Revolutionary Guard to former hardline President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, enthusiastically cheered on by the crowd. 

The protesters portray the nations negotiating with Iran, known as the P5+1 group, as Israel's lackeys even as a majority of Iranians want a nuclear agreement with the West.  Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, says he is skeptical of the nuclear talks, but has ordered all Iranians to support the country's team in Vienna. 

“Our negotiators should go for a deal that respects our leader's red lines,” a woman says. “It is our hope this deal would be in the best interests of our people and the Muslim world." And she says, “the talks could go on for as long as necessary. We won't be held in contempt. Sanctions could go on forever. We won't accept a deal that is forced.”

Iran's hardliners are walking a fine line these days, maintaining their public condemnation of Israel and America just as their government attempts to strike a deal that could fundamentally alter Iran's relations with the West. 

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