Iranian President Crows: Deal Recognizes Country’s Nuclear Status
Immediately after the announcement on Tuesday of an agreement over Iran’s nuclear weapons program, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani claimed that world powers now recognize a nuclear Iran.
He also boasted that Iran will maintain more than 6,000 centrifuges, according to a Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) translation of his speech published by Tasnim news agency.
Tuesday marked “a day when, historically, the largest countries in the world and the superpowers officially recognized Iran’s nuclear activity,” Rouhani said after the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was released between Iran and the P5+1 in Vienna.
Iran, he said, accomplished its four main objectives from the negotiations.
“The first was to continue the nuclear capabilities, the nuclear technology, and even the nuclear activity. The second was to remove the mistaken, oppressive, and inhuman sanctions. The third was to remove the Security Council resolutions that we see as illegitimate. The fourth was to remove the nuclear dossier from Chapter VII of the UN Charter and the Security Council in general.”
More importantly, Rouhani outlined specific concessions won from the P5+1 over nuclear centrifuges Iran that will be allowed to retain.
“At the start of the negotiations, the other side would tell us that during the period of restrictions – which today is set at eight years – Iran could have only 100 centrifuges. After many deliberations, they arrived at 1,000. Because of great opposition [on our part], they said 4,000 and that this would not change. Today, the agreement is carried out under conditions that state that [Iran] will retain over 6,000 centrifuges, over 5,000 of which will be at Natanz and over 1,000 at Fordo. All centrifuges at Natanz will continue to enrich [uranium].”
Initially, the negotiations envisioned no centrifuges at the Fordo uranium enrichment plant, but “I will be brief and say that today, over 1,000 centrifuges will be installed at Fordo, and part of Fordo will be used for R&D on stable isotopes.”
Rouhani devoted part of his address to highlighting P5+1 capitulations. For example, initial demands limited Iran from conducting various activities for 20 years, with negotiators insisting “‘we will not capitulate any more.’ But in the final days of the negotiations, they went down to eight years.”
Rouhani described similar success in eliminating economic sanctions against Iran and in ending arms embargoes.
According to Rouhani, it went from “‘Months must pass and you must earn [our] trust so that later the sanctions can be gradually frozen – not lifted,'” to his boast that, “Today I announce to the Iranian nation that under this agreement, on the day the agreement is implemented all the sanctions – even the embargo on weapons, missiles, and proliferation – will be lifted as stated in the [Security Council] resolution. All the financial and banking sanctions, and those related to insurance, transportation, petrochemical [industries], precious metals, and all economic sanctions will be completely lifted, not frozen. Even the arms embargo will be stopped. There will be a type of restrictions for five years, and after that they will be lifted.”
It is important to note that issues related to Iran’s human rights record and global sponsorship of terrorism were not part of the negotiations. Many experts and critics of the deal believe that sanction relief and the lifting of weapons embargos will enable the Islamic Republic to enhance its regional hegemonic ambitions and international terrorist activity.
Rouhani concluded his address by mocking Israel’s criticism of the negotiations.
Not only Iranians are happy, he said, “but also the people in Gaza, the West Bank, Jerusalem, and Lebanon are happy too because the hollow efforts of the oppressive Zionist regime to thwart the negotiations during the past 23 months have failed… And finally, [to the] nations of the region and neighboring countries: Do not be misled by the propaganda of the Zionist regime and the evil-mongers of this [Iranian] nation. Iran and its might are always your might. We see the security of the region as our security, and the stability of the region as our stability.”
The Islamic Republic has consistently called for the destruction of the Jewish State and remains committed to “wiping Israel off the map.”
Israel and most Sunni Arab countries, particularly in the Gulf, are highly skeptical of this agreement and fear a nuclear Iran will be further emboldened to increase its destabilizing presence in the region.
Read the full MEMRI report here.
Steven Emerson is the Executive Director the Investigative Project on Terrorism (www.investigativeproject.org) where this article first appeared.