Tags: Iran | Zarif | Iran | dismantle | false

Iranian Minister: We Did Not Agree to Dismantle Nuke Program

Wednesday, 22 Jan 2014 06:54 PM

By Greg Richter

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Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, says the United States' insistence that Iran agreed to dismantle its nuclear program is false.

In an interview Wednesday with CNN, Zarif said the White House has been exaggerating how much Iran gave up in a six-month deal struck in late November.

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"The White House version both underplays the concessions and overplays Iranian commitment," he said.

The deal required Iran to dilute its uranium stockpile enriched to 20 percent. Only 5 percent enrichment is needed for nuclear power generation, which Iran says it is pursuing.

The United States and its allies are skeptical that the oil-rich country needs nuclear power, and suspects it is trying to build a nuclear weapons arsenal.

The deal also required Iran to stop all enrichment above 5 percent and "dismantle the technical connections required to enrich above 5 percent," the White House said just after the deal was reached. It took effect on Monday.

"Why don't we all stick to what we agreed? Why do we need to produce different texts?" Zarif said on CNN.

"The terminology is different," he said. "The White House tries to portray it as basically a dismantling of Iran's nuclear program. That is the word that they use time and again."

Story continues below video.

Zarif said anyone who reads the entire text of the agreement will not find such language.

"If you find a single, a single word that even closely resembles dismantling or could be defined as dismantling in the entire text, then I will take back my comment," he said.

What was actually agreed to, he told CNN, was that a connection here or there might be taken off the web of centrifuges that enrich uranium to higher and higher levels. They are tearing down no structures, he said, and have agreed only to pause operations above the 5 percent level.

Still, he said, he is 100 percent confident a long-term deal can be reached if both sides trust each other.

It isn't the first time the Iranians have disputed U.S. wording of the agreement. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said just after the agreement was signed that nuclear facilities would not be dismantled.

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