Just hours after the announcement of what the United States characterized as a historic agreement with Iran over its nuclear program, the country’s leading negotiator lashed out at the Obama administration for lying about the details of a tentative framework.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused the Obama administration of misleading the American people and Congress in a fact sheet it released following the culmination of negotiations with the Islamic Republic.
Zarif bragged in an earlier press conference with reporters that the United States had tentatively agreed to let it continue the enrichment of uranium, the key component in a nuclear bomb, as well as key nuclear research.
Zarif additionally said Iran would have all nuclear-related sanctions lifted once a final deal is signed and that the country would not be forced to shut down any of its currently operating nuclear installations.
Following a subsequent press conference by Secretary of State John Kerry – and release of a administration fact sheet on Iranian concessions – Zarif lashed out on Twitter over what he dubbed lies.
“The solutions are good for all, as they stand,” he tweeted. “There is no need to spin using ‘fact sheets’ so early on.”
Zarif went on to push back against claims by Kerry that the sanctions relief would be implemented in a phased fashion – and only after Iran verifies that it is not conducting any work on the nuclear weapons front.
Zarif, echoing previous comments, said the United States has promised an immediate termination of sanctions.
“Iran/5+1 Statement: ‘US will cease the application of ALL nuclear-related secondary economic and financial sanctions.’ Is this gradual?” he wrote on Twitter.
He then suggested a correction: “Iran/P5+1 Statement: ‘The EU will TERMINATE the implementation of ALL nuclear-related economic and financial sanctions’. How about this?”
The pushback from Iran’s chief diplomat follows a pattern of similar accusations by senior Iranian political figures after the announcement of previous agreements.
Following the signing of an interim agreement with Iran aimed at scaling back its nuclear work, Iran accused the United States of lying about details of the agreement.
On Thursday evening, Zarif told reporters the latest agreement allows Iran to keep operating its nuclear program.
“None of those measures” that will move to scale back Iran’s program “include closing any of our facilities,” Zarif said. “We will continue enriching; we will continue research and development.”
“Our heavy water reactor will be modernized and we will continue the Fordow facility,” Zarif said. “We will have centrifuges installed in Fordow, but not enriching.”
The move to allow Iran to keep centrifuges at Fordow, a controversial onetime military site, has elicited concern that Tehran could ramp up its nuclear work with ease.
Zarif said that once a final agreement is made, “all U.S. nuclear related secondary sanctions will be terminated,” he said. “This, I think, would be a major step forward.”
Zarif also revealed that Iran will be allowed to sell “enriched uranium” in the international market place and will be “hopefully making some money” from it.