Iranian Cleric Decries US "Biased" View on Geneva N. Deal
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A senior Iranian cleric lashed out at the US officials for mischaracterizing Tehran’s commitments in the nuclear deal signed between Iran and the six world powers, saying Washington’s view on Tehran’s commitments run counter to the Geneva nuclear agreement.
Addressing a large congregation of worshippers in the Iranian capital today, Tehran's Provisional Friday Prayers Leader Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani took a swipe at the US administration for the talk of what nuclear facilities Iran has to dismantle.
“This is totally in breach of the deal,” said the cleric, making a reference to the landmark nuclear accord struck between Iran and the six major world powers in Switzerland last November.
On November 24, 2013, Iran and the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) signed a six-month deal on Tehran’s nuclear program in Geneva after several rounds of tight negotiations.
Based on the interim deal (the Joint Plan of Action), the world powers agreed to suspend some non-essential sanctions and to impose no new nuclear-related bans in return for Tehran's decision to freeze parts of its nuclear activities and to allow more inspection of its nuclear facilities.
However, a White House fact sheet issued in November after the initial agreement put a biased interpretation on the Geneva deal, saying Iran should "dismantle the technical connections required to enrich (uranium) above 5%."
Elsewhere in his speech, Ayatollah Emami Kashani reiterated that the Iranian nation will forcefully defend its rights to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, and added, “We will by no means accept the attitudes imposed by the enemy.”
In relevant remarks on Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also insisted that the Obama administration mischaracterizes Tehran’s commitments in the six-month nuclear deal, and said Iran ”did not agree to dismantle anything."
Zarif stressed in an interview with CNN that the 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 White House version both underplays the concessions and overplays Iranian commitments" under the agreement that took effect on January 20, Zarif said in Davos, Switzerland, where he was attending the World Economic Forum.
"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," the Iranian minister said.
Urging reference to the actual text of the Geneva agreement, the top Iranian diplomat further emphasized, "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."