Iran Denies Agreeing to Dismantle Nuclear Program

Foreign Minister disputes Obama White House claim in CNN interview

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Sergei Karpukhin / Reuters

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow's Kremlin on Jan. 16, 2014.

The Iranian Foreign Minister said Wednesday his country did not agree to dismantle a key aspect of its nuclear program, disputing the White House’s description of the six-month agreement struck between Iran and the so-called Gang of Six.

“We did not agree to dismantle anything,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told CNN.

“The White House version both underplays the concessions and overplays Iranian commitments,” Zarif said.

Under the deal, Iran agreed to dilute the uranium it has enriched up to 20%—which is far above the 5% necessary for power generation—halt enrichment above 5% and, according to a White House fact sheet, “dismantle technical connections required to enrich above 5%.”

“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. “We are not dismantling any centrifuges, we’re not dismantling any equipment, we’re simply not producing, not enriching over 5%.”