|In nuclear deal, Iran did not agree to dismantle anything: Zarif||
TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Wednesday that the United States overplays Iranian commitments in the nuclear deal, underlining that Iran “did not agree to dismantle anything.”
“The White House version both underplays the concessions and overplays Iranian commitments,” Zarif told CNN while on a visit to Davos, Switzerland, to attend the 44th meeting of the World Economic Forum.
Iran and the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) made an agreement over Tehran’s nuclear program in November 2013, according to which Iran agreed not to expand its nuclear program and to suspend its 20 percent uranium enrichment in return for a limited easing of the sanctions imposed on the country.
Zarif added that terminology used by the White House to describe the agreement differed from the text agreed to by Iran and the other countries in the talks -- the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany.
He accused the Obama administration of creating a false impression with such language.
“The White House tries to portray it as basically a dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program. That is the word they use time and again,” he said. “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 would take back my comment.”
He repeated that “we are not dismantling any centrifuges, we’re not dismantling any equipment, we’re simply not producing, not enriching over 5%.”
“You don’t need to over-emphasize it,” Zarif said of the White House language.
Asked about his relationship with Secretary of State John Kerry, Zarif called it “very difficult because we’re both going into these negotiations with a lot of baggage.”
Progress has been made, he said, but “it’s yet too early to talk about trust.”
Commenting on the Geneva II conference on Syria which is ongoing in Montreux, Switzerland, Zarif expressed hope that the Syrian talks could succeed.
He explained Iran’s support for the Syrian government and said “Iran finds itself in a situation where we see the very prominent and serious danger of terrorism, extremism, sectarian tension being fed from outside and creating a very dangerous environment in Syria.”
He added that an agreement among Syrians that brings a democratically elected government is the only solution, and he dismissed concerns that a free and fair vote would be impossible with Bashar Al-Assad in power and running as a candidate.
“Why don’t we talk about it?” Zarif asked. “And why don’t we allow the Syrians to talk about how they can conduct a free and fair election? Why do people need to set an agenda and impose their agenda on the Syrian people?”
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