New US Allegations 'a Big Lie'

New US Allegations 'a Big Lie'New US Allegations 'a Big Lie'

The Foreign Ministry rejected as "a big lie" the recent claim by US Secretary of State John Kerry that Iran was on the verge of becoming a nuclear weapons state but was prevented by the mid-July nuclear deal.

"Remarks that Iran was on the threshold of acquiring a nuclear weapon [before the conclusion of the accord] is a big lie," the Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.

"In conformity with a fatwa by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution and its defensive doctrine, Iran has never and will never be in pursuit of nuclear weapons," Marzieh Afkham was quoted by IRNA as saying on Thursday.

The Leader issued a fatwa (religious decree) on February 22, 2012, in which he said Iran considers the pursuit and possession of nuclear weapons "a grave sin" from every logical, religious and theoretical standpoint.

Nearly 22 months of negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany) led to the pact on Tehran's nuclear program.

Kerry said on Wednesday, "Two years ago, in September of 2013, we were facing an Iran that had already mastered the nuclear fuel cycle; already stockpiled enough enriched uranium that, if further enriched, could arm 10 to 12 bombs."

"An Iran that was already enriching uranium to the level of 20%, which is just below weapons-grade; an Iran that had already installed 10,000-plus centrifuges; and an Iran that was moving rapidly to commission a heavy water reactor able to produce enough weapons-grade plutonium for an additional bomb or two a year."

Speaking at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, he claimed Iran had "successfully transformed itself into a nuclear threshold state," according to a transcript of his remarks posted on the US Department of State website.

The pact will place temporary constraints on Tehran's nuclear work in return for relief from international sanctions.

  Sanctions Ineffective  

Afkham pointed to Kerry's acknowledgement that the West was forced to turn to negotiations because sanctions had failed to make Iran surrender, saying, "It was the diplomacy of the Islamic Republic that rendered sanctions inefficient and dragged the United States to the negotiating table."

Kerry said, "But we also had to face an obvious fact: sanctions alone were not getting the job done, not even close," adding that even "the toughest restrictions" failed to achieve their intended purpose of halting Iran's nuclear program and preventing its development from "a couple of hundred centrifuges to 5,000 to 19,000."

The top diplomat admitted that Iran was fully committed to the Geneva agreement, the interim deal signed in late 2013.

"We began with an interim agreement reached in Geneva… and it is critical to note – you don't hear much about it, but it's critical to note that for more than 19 months now, Iran has complied with every requirement of that plan."

Technical soundness of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the July accord is officially known, has been confirmed by more than two dozen prominent nuclear scientists, among them a few Nobel laureates, he said.

Twenty-nine scientists published an open letter last month in support of the JCPOA, describing it as "a technically sound, stringent, and innovative deal."

  Self-Destructive Blow

He warned of possible passage of a resolution of disapproval on the deal, which the US Congress has until September 17 to vote on, saying, "Let me be clear. Rejecting this agreement would not be sending a signal of resolve to Iran."

"It is hard to conceive of a quicker or more self-destructive blow to our nation's credibility and leadership – not only with respect to this one issue, but I'm telling you across the board – economically, politically, militarily, and even morally. We would pay an immeasurable price for this unilateral reversal."