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Obama, in his State of the Union address on Tuesday, said U.S. and international pressure had led to the interim deal struck in November between Iran and six global powers, under which Tehran agreed to scale back uranium enrichment in return for about $7 billion in sanctions relief.
"American diplomacy, backed by pressure, has halted the progress of Iran's nuclear program and rolled parts of that program back," Obama said. "The sanctions that we put in place helped make this opportunity possible."
Afkham, in comments posted on the IRIB website, dismissed that claim.
"It is a totally wrong interpretation of Tehran's interest to create an opportunity for Western countries to have another kind of relation with the Iranian nation," she said.
Afkham also rejected Obama's assertion that diplomacy had opened a window which could forestall any possible nuclear weapons drive by Iran.
"America considers preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon to be its biggest achievement, but it is wrong since Iran has never sought to obtain a nuclear weapon and will never do so in future," she said.
The Islamic Republic has consistently denied that its nuclear program has ever had any military aims, but Western nations who imposed the sanctions suspect Iran was positioning itself to pursue nuclear weapons in the future. The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, has even issued a fatwa, or Islamic edict, condemning nuclear weapons.
Tehran has also repeatedly rejected suggestions that economic sanctions had forced it to the negotiating table, a claim many analysts say is dubious.
"They could never say that the sanctions had an effect publicly because it would look terrible in the media and to their people," Najam Haider, a Middle East historian at Barnard College, told Al Jazeera. "It would provide more ammunition to their opponents at home and overseas...and make the deal look like some kind of a capitulation."
In fact, a Gallup poll released in November found that 85 percent of Iranian respondents believed U.S. and European sanctions had hurt their personal livelihood either "a great deal" or "somewhat." Last year, then President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad admitted the punitive measures had caused "problems."