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Zarif: Final Deal Will Give Iran a “Serious” Enrichment Program With No Sanctions

Following the decision yesterday to extend nuclear talks between the P5+1 nations and Iran, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator and foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif boasted of what his nation accomplished in the talks.

In remarks reported by Buzzfeed, Zarif made the dubious claim that Iran had a right to enrichment under terms of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT):

“We believe that the right of Iran to have a peaceful nuclear program including enrichment is enshrined in the NPT [Non-Proliferation Treaty] which does not require anybody’s recognition,” he said. “The right is there. What is important is for Iran to be able to implement that right, to exercise that right without the threat of sanctions and pressures which in our view are illegal, but which unfortunately have been imposed on the Iranian people for the past many years.”

There is no explicit right to enrichment written in the NPT (.pdf), but rather a reference to a general “inalienable right … to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.” However, Iran has no need to develop ballistic missiles capable of carrying a nuclear warhead for a civilian nuclear program, or to test exploding bridge wires, used to detonate nuclear devices, which Iran is believed to have done at the Parchin military complex. There is also no peaceful need that would justify operating a heavy water reactor that produces plutonium, which can be used in a nuclear warhead, as any civilian needs can be met with a light water reactor.

Zarif further boasted that Iran effectively achieved its goals, even in the extension agreed to yesterday.

“So the object of this discussion is to have an Iranian enrichment program and at the same time remove international restrictions and pressures,” he said. “I’m confident that any final deal will have a serious and not a token Iranian enrichment program coupled with removal of sanctions. This is the objective that we’re working on and this is the objective we will achieve.” …

“We consider it in our interest to defuse and to defeat all these Iranophobic attempts to securitize the Iranian peaceful nuclear program,” Zarif said. “We believe that this securitization process is intended to serve objectives that have nothing to do with non-proliferation, because probably the most serous violators of the international nonproliferation regime are the strongest voices against this agreement and the strongest voices that create fear and phobia in the international community against the Iranian nuclear program.”

Many of the United Nations Security Council sanctions were imposed on Iran in response to the regime’s violations of the NPT. From 2006 to 2010, the Security Council passed six resolutions sanctioning Iran in response to its ongoing violations. Zarif, in effect, is boasting that Iran has escaped the consequences of its serial violations of international law.

The Tower’s correspondent in Vienna recorded Zarif’s comments in the two recordings embedded below.

[Photo: U.S. Department of State / WikiCommons ]