Iran claims White House is lying about wording of nuke deal
Those who oppose the agreement on Iran's nuclear program may want to pause and take a breath. Apparently, there's still about 10% of the deal that needs to be worked out, and given Iran's track record, it's still very possible that the whole thing could fall through.
This certainly isn't a good sign:
Iranian officials say that the White House is misleading the public about the details of an interim nuclear agreement reached over the weekend in Geneva.
Iran and Western nations including the United States came to an agreement on the framework for an interim deal late Saturday night in Geneva. The deal has yet to be implemented
The White House released a multi-page fact sheet containing details of the draft agreement shortly after the deal was announced.
However, Iranian foreign ministry official on Tuesday rejected the White House's version of the deal as "invalid" and accused Washington of releasing a factually inaccurate primer that misleads the American public.
"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, 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 told the Iranian press on Tuesday.
Afkham and officials said that the White House has "modified" key details of the deal and released their own version of the agreement in the fact sheet.
Iran's right to enrich uranium, the key component in a nuclear weapon, is fully recognized under the draft released by Tehran.
"This comprehensive solution would enable Iran to fully enjoy its right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes under the relevant articles of the NPT in conformity with its obligations therein," the agreement reads, according to a copy released to Iranian state-run media.
"This comprehensive solution would involve a mutually defined enrichment programme with practical limits and transparency measures to ensure the peaceful nature of the programme," the Iranian draft reads. "This comprehensive solution would constitute an integrated whole where nothing is agreed until everything is agreed."
Iran's objection to the deal as presented in the fact sheet raises new concerns about final stage talks meant to ensure that the deal is implemented in the next few weeks.
Negotiating with Tehran is never easy. Factions in the Iranian government can apparently derail agreements even after they're concluded, which has happened a couple of times over the years.
But the fact that the Iranians interpet the agreement as a confirmation of their right to enrich uranium and the US believes the deal says exactly the opposite means that the whole enterprise is in jeapordy. Such a fundamental disagreement on what amounts to the essence of the negotiations does not bode well for President Obama who would be hugely embarrassed if the Iranians backed out of the deal at this point. Expect Iran to push this point and the Americans to bend in order to keep the agreement on track.