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March 13, 2014 12:31 am

U.S. Says Iran’s Uranium Enrichment Can Continue

avatar by Steven Emerson

The Arak IR-40 heavy water reactor in Iran. Photo: Nanking2012 / WikiCommons.

The Arak IR-40 heavy water reactor in Iran. Photo: Nanking2012 / WikiCommons.

Ongoing talks between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran over Iran’s nuclear weapons program continue to be marred by varying interpretations and controversies. Following the release of an interim agreement made in Geneva November 24, Secretary of State John Kerry asserted that the deal did not provide Iran with the right to enrich uranium.

However, numerous Iranian officials contradicted Kerry’s statement, attributing his interpretation to domestic considerations. The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is highlighting various reports that outline Iranian interpretations of the Geneva agreement. For instance, President Hassan Rouhani believes that the interim agreement amounts to a superpower surrender to Iran and stresses Iran’s right to continue enriching uranium. Foreign Minister Mohamed Javad Zarif also said that the number of centrifuges will be maintained and the heavy water project at Arak will continue along the same course as before. Even Ayatollah Khamenei revealed that he is not optimistic about ongoing negotiations and that the United States will continue to be an enemy.

Moreover, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy R. Sherman confirmed Iranian interpretations of the final Geneva document, stating that “zero percent enrichment” is “an unrealistic demand.” This is a direct contradiction to Kerry’s initial claims. Meanwhile, Iran continues to develop its ballistic missiles capabilities and threatens to attack the United States.

No matter how some may interpret the details of the final Geneva agreement, it is clear that U.S. government is contradicting itself and that Iran perceives the agreement constitutes a victory for its ongoing nuclear program and that its negotiating position has been enhanced for future discussions.

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