TEHRAN — Iran sought on Sunday to calm hard-liners worried over groundbreaking exchanges with Washington, saying a single phone conversation between the American and Iranian presidents is not a sign that relations will be quickly restored.
The comments by Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi appeared tailored to address Iranian factions, including the powerful Revolutionary Guard, that have grown uneasy over fast-paced outreach last week between the White House and President Hassan Rouhani, which was capped by a 15-minute call with President Obama.
‘‘Definitely, a history of high tensions between Tehran and Washington will not go back to normal relations due to a phone call, meeting or negotiation,’’ Araghchi was quoted by the semi-official Fars news agency.
Rouhani is seeking to restart stalled talks over its nuclear program in the hope of easing US-led sanctions. Iran, however, has not clarified what concessions it is willing to make in exchange.
In an interview Sunday on US television, Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, said the nuclear issue was a crucial impediment to improved relations between Iran and the United States, but he added that the steps toward resolving that issue had been taken.
“The resolution of that issue will be a first step, a necessary first step toward removing the tensions and doubts and misgivings that the two sides have had about each other for the last 30-some years,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.”
To be successful, Zarif said, the United States and Iran must move forward in an “atmosphere of mutual respect and mutual interest.”
A crucial demand of Iran, he said, was the removal of the international sanctions that have damaged the country’s economy. In exchange, he said, Iran would be willing to open its nuclear facilities to inspections.
But Zarif’s deputy, Araghchi, reiterated statements by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who said he no longer opposes direct talks with Washington but is not optimistic about the potential outcome.