Iran Demands More Nuke Concessions

Call comes after U.S. promises new Iran nuke equipment

Ali Khamenei
Ali Khamenei / AP
June 24, 2015

Iran is insisting the United States and world powers deliver more concessions at the negotiating table, including consenting to demands that any final nuclear agreement last less than 10 years.

The call for greater concessions was made in a speech Tuesday by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who accused the United States of "seeking to destroy Iran's nuclear industry" and of being "on the opposite side of everyone in Iran."

Iran’s bid to pressure Western powers came amid reports that the United States promised in secret documents to deliver to Tehran "high-tech reactors and other state-of-the-art equipment" that would modernize and improve its nuclear program. This portion of the agreement appears to reverse decades of U.S. policy towards Iran.

The news of these concessions and Khamenei’s latest demands appeared to rattle prominent Obama administration defenders, who had long argued on behalf of the administration’s controversial diplomacy with Tehran.

"The Americans are seeking to destroy Iran's nuclear industry and on the opposite side of everyone in Iran, including me myself, the government, the parliament, the judiciary, the security and military bodies, and all other bodies, are after a good agreement, that is a fair, just and honorable deal in line with Iran's interests, while stressing on [the country's] redlines," Khamenei said in a speech delivered ahead of a June 30 deadline for the talks.

Iran will not agree to any deal that restricts its nuclear program for more than 10 years and will not allow international inspectors access to its most secret and sensitive nuclear facilities, Khamenei said.

"Opposite to what the Americans insist on, we do not accept long-term 10-to-12-year restrictions and we have told them the acceptable number of years for limitations," he said.

Khamenei also indicated that Iran and the United States still remain at odds over key issues—and that a solution may not be in the works.

"The Americans mean to destroy Iran's nuclear industry ...  and somehow keep the pressures and sanctions at the same time," Khamenei said.

He went on to demand that all economic sanctions on Tehran be "immediately" terminated before Iran implements any restrictions on its program.

All "economic, financial and banking sanctions, no matter they are related to the Security Council or the U.S. Congress or the U.S. administration, should be terminated immediately and right at the time when the agreement is endorsed," he said.

Meanwhile, a disclosure of documents being hashed out between negotiators indicated that the United States already promised to give Tehran nuclear equipment.

The United States is offering to supply Iran with light-water nuclear reactors and to assist in the "construction and effective operation" of such facilities, according to a document obtained by the Associated Press.

The document, which will likely be appended as an annex to any final deal, also "offers to cooperate with Iran in the fields of nuclear safety, nuclear medicine, research, nuclear waste removal, and other peaceful applications," according to the AP.

On the heels of Khamenei’s speech, prominent White House defenders fired off a series of tweets expressing shock.

"Was Khamenei's speech designed to drive a stake in the #IranDeal?" asked Mark Fitzpatrick, director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ (IISS) Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Program. "His demands are unacceptable."

Daryl G. Kimball, director of Arms Control Association, referred to Khamenei’s speech as "supremely unhelpful" and claimed it "backtracks on earlier Iranian commitments, jeopardizing win-win deal" with Tehran.

The speech was a "clumsy attempt at gaining leverage that jeopardizes a win-win deal," Kimball tweeted.