Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s ameliorative tone with the West hasn’t trickled down to the country’s citizens quite yet, the Associated Press reported Friday.
According to the AP, Iranians are still chanting “Death to America” and burning the U.S. flag after weekly prayers in Tehran, though at least one influential cleric, Ayatollah Kazem Sedighi, leading prayers in the Iranian capital, struck a moderate tone, saying America and Iran should “join hands” in a struggle to overcome sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy.
Despite the call for hand-holding, Sedighi insisted that Iran would continue to pursue its “peaceful nuclear rights.”
Rouhani’s outreach included a telephone chat last week with President Barack Obama. Rouhani has expressed a desire to come to an agreement to end the stand-off with Western nations over his country’s nuclear program. The West believes Iran is using the program to pursue nuclear weapons, which Iran denies, and, despite Rouhani’s soothing tone, Israel has also expressed skepticism at the claims.