Diplomacy

CNN Host Describes Diplomatic “Train Wreck” as Iran President Rules Out Dismantling Nuclear Centrifuges

A CNN interview to be aired on Sunday will have Iranian President Hassan Rouhani declaring to CNN host Fareed Zakaria that Iran “will not accept any limitations” on its “nuclear technology” in the context of a comprehensive agreement between Tehran and the West, and that the Iranians will “not under any circumstances” agree to destroy any uranium enrichment centrifuges.

“It is part a part of our national pride, and nuclear technology has become indigenous,” he said. “And recently, we have managed to secure very considerable prowess with regards to the fabrication of centrifuges,” he added, explaining that “not under any circumstances” would Iran destroy any of its existing centrifuges.

Zakaria described Rouhani’s statement as a diplomatic “train wreck,” observing that “the Iranian conception of what the deal is going to look like and the American conception now look like they are miles apart.” The preview of Rouhani’s statements came a day after CNN aired footage of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif asserting in an interview that Iran is not obligated to dismantle centrifuges, and that White House statements to the contrary – and there have been several such statements – were mischaracterizations. A report published this week [PDF] by the U.S.-based Institute of Science and International Security (ISIS) had outlined the minimum requirements that Iran would be obligated to take under any agreement that robustly imposed limits on Tehran’s ability to produce nuclear weapons. The Wall Street Journal pointedly observed that the report’s prescriptions “aren’t viewed as particularly harsh or hard-line,” and ISIS head David Albright emphasized that they had been produced after ‘extensive discussions in recent months with Obama administration officials working on the Iran file.’ The ISIS reported calculated that any agreement would have to require the Iranians to dismantle 15,000 centrifuges, and that some of the dismantled equipment should actually “be taken out of Iran.”

[Photo: Washington Free Beacon / YouTube]