Iran won’t be dismantling any element of its nuclear development program, Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister told CNN on Wednesday.
“We are not dismantling any centrifuges, we’re not dismantling any equipment,” Zarif said about the deal signed by Iran, the United States and several other nations.
“The White House tries to portray it as basically a dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program,” he continued.
“That is the word they use time and again… [but] 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,” Zarif said.
U.S. officials, including President Barack Obama, have portrayed the partly-secret deal as a rollback or freeze of the Iranian nuclear-development program, in exchange for economic benefits worth at least $8 billion.
Zarif’s comment match statements made by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Monday.
A top Obama administration reached by CNN dismissed the Iranian statements as domestic posturing.
“We expected that the Iranians would need to spin this for their domestic political purposes, and are not surprised they are doing just that,” he told CNN.
The deal requires the Iranians to dilute their stockpile of nuclear fuel to level below the level required for nuclear weapons, and to disconnect some of devices needed to enrich fuel.
But it does not require the Iranians to dismantle the devices, nor to stop the Iranian program building up their weapons and fuel-development infrastructure.
That infrastructure includes a partially built, Russian-supplied nuclear reactor that will be able to produce plutonium for powerful nuclear weapons, if it is ever completed.