White House press secretary Jay Carney brushed off the Iranian foreign minister’s claims that there is no dismantling of their nuclear program in the p5+1 agreement.
Mohammad Javad Zarif told CNN during an interview in Davos that “the White House version both underplays the concessions and overplays Iranian commitments.”
“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.”
Zarif urged the CNN reporter to read the agreement, but the White House won’t release the text — claiming that the P5+1 agreed there was some technical information in the document that should remain classified.
“We’ve said before that we expected the Iranian government to spin the commitments they made under the joint plan of action for their domestic political purposes,” Carney told reporters in today’s briefing.
“When it comes to the commitments Iran has made as part of the joint plan of action and the implementation of it, we’ve always been clear that the first step would halt progress on Iran’s nuclear program and roll it back in key respects, stopping the advance of the program for the first time in nearly a decade, and introducing unprecedented transparency into Iran’s nuclear activities while we negotiate a long-term, comprehensive solution,” he said. “Now, we have also been clear that as part of the comprehensive agreement, should it be reached, Iran will be required to agree to strict limits and constraints on all aspects of its nuclear program, to include the dismantlement of significant portions of its nuclear infrastructure in order to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon in the future.”
“So I think the dismantlement aspect of this has to do with a comprehensive solution. The agreements that Iran made as part of the joint plan of action, the initial agreement with the P5-plus-one have been clearly spelled out, and how Iranian officials want to characterize it, I think, has to be viewed through the prism of their — the audience they’re speaking to.”
Carney said what matters “is what Iran actually does, and whether or not it adheres to the commitments it makes.”
Still, he said, all reporters would see is a “summary” of the agreement.
“We have provided that text to members of Congress and we provided a summary of that text to the public. This is a document that the IAEA is basically — guidance for the IAEA for the implementation of the joint plan of action,” Carney said.
After Carney claimed that Iran’s comments in the English-language interview were just meant to appease a domestic audience inside Iran, one reporter asked if CNN is broadcast outside of Iran.
“Uh-huh,” Carney responded.
“It’s not just domestic political consumption if they’re talking to a broader audience,” the reporter noted.
“How the leaders characterize the agreement matters far less to us than whether or not they meet their commitments in the agreement,” Carney said.