In a televised interview on Wednesday, Jan. 22, Iran’s foreign minister said that a fact sheet distributed by the White House mischaracterized what Iran agreed to do in the Interim Nuclear Agreement.
Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, told CNN’s chief national security correspondent that the Obama administration “tried to create a false impression” by claiming that Iran had agreed to “dismantle” the machinery that enabled it to enrich uranium above five percent.
The Iranian diplomat said that he was “not interested” in playing verbal games, while the White House was engaged in “underplaying its concessions and overplaying Iranian commitments.”
“We should all stick to what we all agreed on,” Zarif exclaimed.
Zarif insisted during Wednesday’s interview that Iran “did not agree to dismantle anything.”
The White House distributed a fact sheet in November, following the initial announcement of an Interim Agreement between the P5+1 and Iran regarding Iran’s nuclear program. That fact sheet represented that the government of Iran had to halt all enrichment above 5%, dilute its stockpile of uranium that was enriched above 20 percent, and “dismantle the technical connections required to enrich above 5 percent.” “I challenge you to go through the entire text of the Agreement to find one single word that resembles ‘dismantling’,” Zarif exclaimed.
Of course, if Iran does not dismantle the machinery and connections it has made to process uranium to weapons grade enrichment levels, it can immediately return to high-level enrichment at any time, in the absence of an agreement or otherwise.
Whether there was a misunderstanding or if the Iranians have shifted their position, the shocking interview should provide significant weight to the sanctions bill that is currently in the Senate. That bill, known as the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act, has strong backing in the Senate, even amongst Democrats, but the Administration has been lobbying heavily against it.
Cong. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (Fla-23)(D) is one of the Administration’s biggest cheerleaders against the sanctions bill. However, in just about every speech she gave on behalf of President Obama during the fall campaign, she repeatedly emphasized the enormous significance of “this Administration” having passed the “most biting sanctions ever” on Iran.
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.
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