Iranian Foreign Minister: 'We Did Not Agree to Dismantle Anything'

Zarif: 'The White House version both underplays the concessions and overplays Iranian commitment'

January 22, 2014

Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told CNN Wednesday the Iranians had not agreed to dismantle anything in their nuclear weapons program and that the White House was exaggerating the concessions by Iran in the nuclear deal they reached.

"The White House version both underplays the concessions and overplays Iranian commitment," Zarikf said. "Why don't we all stick to what we agreed? Why do we need to produce different texts?"

CNN correspondent Jim Sciutto asked him what the difference between the White House version of the agreement and Zarif's was.

"The terminology is different," Zarif said. "The White House tries to portray it as basically a dismantling of Iran's nuclear program. That is the word that they used time and again. I urge you to read the entire text. If you find a single word that even closely resembles dismantling or could be defined as dismantling in the entire text, then I will take back my comment. What Iran has agreed is not to enrich above 5 percent. We did not agree to dismantle anything."

The White House has not fully publicized the deal, instead releasing a "summary" of its components, begging the question of how Sciutto or anyone else could verify Zarif's statement.

If the United States and the West does not agree to their side, Sciutto said, Zarif had made it clear Iran could "turn this around very quickly" and was only pulling back their program for now.

CNN host Wolf Blitzer called the remarks "stunning and truly provocative" and later added they should give fuel to lawmakers who want to impose tougher sanctions against Iran.