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Iran has described an agreement to curb its nuclear program as “not acceptable” days after the United States hailed the new framework deal.
Following the announcement of a framework accord that the United States described as a major step in rolling back Iran’s nuclear work, leaders in Tehran began to accuse the Obama administration of lying about the deal’s parameters.
The disagreement revolves around a White House fact sheet that outlined concessions Tehran agreed to after negotiations in Lausanne, Switzerland, last week.
On Wednesday, Iran rejected most of the concessions it reportedly agreed to undertake.
Top Iranian leaders are describing the framework as a “lie” and announced that international nuclear inspectors will not be permitted to enter any of its contested military sites.
Iran also maintains that all of the Islamic Republic’s controversial nuclear work will continue under any deal—a claim that runs counter to White House claims.
"The U.S. fact sheet is a U.S. version and not acceptable to Iran,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said in a Persian-language interview with the country’s state-controlled media, translated by the CIA’s Open Source Center.
Obama administration claims about Iranian nuclear concessions are a wish list, according to Afkham. None of these issues—including inspections of Iranian nuclear sites, the rollback of international sanctions, and Tehran’s right to continue enrichment—have been resolved, Afkham said.
“The Americans have mentioned a version of the negotiations from their own point of view,” she said in an interview with Nasim Online. “They are known to the world for having such methods, and yet they have even made the Europeans object.”
“There is no agreement yet,” Afkham said. “There can be no agreement until all the issues are finalized."
Disagreements between the United States and Iran emerged after a joint press conference featuring Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.
Iran’s rejection of the administration’s characterization of the deal will likely complicate talks as negotiators work to finalize a deal by June.
Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan also pushed back against reported concessions, calling them a “lie.”
Iran has not agreed to permit international inspectors to enter any of its military facilities under the framework, Dehqan said.
"No such agreement has been made,” Dehquan told the Fars News Agency. “Principally speaking, visit to military centers is among our redlines and no such visit will be accepted.”
State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf said access to Iranian military sites is still up for debate.
“We are still negotiating over all of the people and places where the [International Atomic Energy Agency] will have access required when it comes to possible military dimensions,” Harf told reporters Friday.
“We have a path forward here, an agreement that Iran will undertake a [previous military site] access list process to form out that list when it comes to potential military sites. That’s part of what will be negotiated over the next three months, but in principle, we have agreement that that is a process they will undertake.”
Access to military sites such as Parchin will be critical, Harf said.
Iran has vowed to inject uranium gas—a key nuclear ingredient—into its newest generation of advanced centrifuges upon the finalization of any deal.
Following the announcement of the new framework, Zarif reportedly received “a hero’s welcome in Tehran,” according to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
Iranian television reported that upon arriving home, Zarif received a tremendous welcome, according to Iranian news reports translated by MEMRI.
Iranians “believe that what happened in Lausanne was a clear Iranian victory, for which they waited for years, with their eyes set upon the emerging of their country from the hardship of the international sanctions,” Iranian television reported.
Former Pentagon adviser Michael Rubin said the emerging schisms between Iran and the United States are startling.
“It’s become the incredible disappearing deal,” Rubin said. The Iranians “have a completely different conception of what was agreed than Kerry and team.”
This could erode trust between the two sides and complicate the Obama administration’s efforts to sell Congress on the agreement, Rubin said.
“Obama now asks the United States to embrace a deal that according to the Iranians doesn’t permit full inspections, doesn’t eliminate plutonium production, provides sanctions relief based on Iranian promises and not behavior, and doesn’t eliminate Iran’s path to a bomb,” Rubin said. “It’s a historic deal, but for all the wrong reasons.”