Iran's assurance that it would temporarily halt its nuclear program in exchange for the easing of international sanctions is a complete farce, according to a CNN interview with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
CNN correspondent Fareed Zakaria, who recently interviewed Rouhani, said the agreement struck in Geneva late last year between Tehran and the United States, along with five other world powers, is a "train wreck."
"This strikes me as a huge obstacle because the Iranian conception of what the deal is going to look like, and the American conception, now look like they are miles apart," said Zakaria, discussing the interview with Chris Cuomo, co-host of CNN's morning show "New Day."
CNN released a portion of Zakaria's interview and will air it in full on Sunday morning, according to the network.
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Rouhani stated in no uncertain terms that his regime will not limit its centrifuges, adding that Iran is "not afraid of threats."
When Zakaria asked whether there would be any destruction of centrifuges, Rouhani answered: "Not under any circumstances."
The subject of whether to pass legislation imposing additional sanctions
has been hotly debated in the Senate since the announcement of the November pact between Iran and the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia.
Sen. Bob Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has co-sponsored a bill seeking to spell out further sanctions as an "insurance policy"
should the diplomatic process fail.
The Obama administration has lobbied hard against it, arguing that doing so would likely derail the whole process.
Senate aides told The Washington Post
last week that a formal tally showed the Senate was close to the 60-senator "filibuster-proof majority" required to approve the bill, while an informal accounting boosted that figure into the 70s.
"The American position is that there has to be some substantial rollback," Zakaria told Cuomo, referring to Iran's nuclear program, emphasizing that the Iranian regime is taking a hard-line stance.
"It's very hard to walk back from as absolutist a position as the president of Iran laid out," he said.
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