Diplomacy

Iran Accuses White House of Mischaracterizing Terms of Interim Deal

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham was quoted by Iranian state media today declaring that the White House is mischaracterizing the terms of an interim agreement signed this weekend between the P5+1 and Iran, a statement that threatens to deepen an already-pitched controversy over the degree to which the agreement conceded that Iran would be permitted to enrich uranium under a comprehensive agreement.

“What has been released by the website of the White House as a fact sheet is a one-sided interpretation of the agreed text in Geneva and some of the explanations and words in the sheet contradict the text of the Joint Plan of Action (the title of the Iran-powers deal), and this fact sheet has unfortunately been translated and released in the name of the Geneva agreement by certain media, which is not true,” Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said on Tuesday.

The report of her statements was subsequently covered by Israeli [Hebrew] and U.S.-based media outlets. Iran and the U.S., backed respectively by Russia and Britain, have been at odds over whether a plain reading of the agreement envisions Iran being allowed to enrich under the terms of a final deal, and analysts have noted that the text strongly favors Iran’s interpretation. The dispute will be difficult for U.S. negotiators to navigate: The Obama administration had for years provided assurances to U.S. lawmakers and allies that Iran would be expected to cease enrichment per at least six United Nations Security Council resolutions, but Iranian leaders have now marked what they insist is a reversal of that position as a core victory. Washington will be in a position of either negotiating the Iranians into backing down or having to reverse itself on those years of assurances.

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