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Iran dismisses US Congress pressure over nuclear deal

Iran's president Hassan Rouhani has downplayed the role of the US Congress in Tehran's final nuclear agreement with the world powers. He said his country is not only negotiating with the US.

President Rouhani said his administration was pursing a "dignified" agreement with six major powers, which include the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France, and Germany.

Rouhani's remarks were an apparent reaction to the recent developments in the US over

a draft deal on Tehran's controversial nuclear program

, which was sealed on April 2.

The agreement, which is aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear program in return for the lifting of economic sanctions on the country, is to be finalized by June 30.

On Tuesday, the US Senate's foreign relations committee approved a bill that would give Congress

the power to strike down a final nuclear pact with Iran

.

"We do not negotiate with the US Senate; we do not negotiate with the US House of Representatives," Rouhani said in a televised speech in the northern Iranian city of Rasht on Wednesday. "We are negotiating with a group called the P5+1."

"What the American Senate says, what the US House of Representatives wants, what the hardliners in the US are after, what US mercenaries say in the region, has got nothing to do with our nation or our government," he added.

Israel, which is Iran's arch rival in the region, and has been

critical of the April 2 preliminary deal between Iran and the global powers

, welcomed the Congress deal.

'Lift all sanctions'

Rouhani reiterated that his country wouldn't accept a comprehensive deal if all

sanctions on Tehran

were not lifted.

"If there is no end to sanctions, there will not be an agreement," Rouhani underlined, adding that "The end of these negotiations and signed deal must include a declaration of cancelling the oppressive sanctions on the great nation of Iran."

Washington says it will gradually remove the sanctions against Iran.

Meanwhile, a delegation of UN nuclear inspectors arrived in Tehran on Wednesday for a scheduled trip to investigate Iran's nuclear facilities, according to IRNA news agency. The officials of Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency would discuss with Iranian authorities "unresolved issues" related to a military site in Marivan in western Iran.

Iran and the world powers will resume their nuclear talks on April 21.

shs/bw (AP, Reuters, AFP)

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