Nuclear Deal 5
President Obama on Friday criticized Iranian leaders for undermining the “spirit” of last years historic nuclear agreement, even as they stick to the “letter” of the pact. In comments following the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, Obama denied speculation that the United States would ease rules preventing dollars from being used in financial transactions with Iran, in order to boost the country’s engagement with the rest of the world.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel warned on Sunday that his nation would ensure that Tehran never obtains nuclear weapons, while also taking credit for keeping Iran from already having them. He also said that the recent accord would strengthen and embolden Iran s leaders, since the lifting of most sanctions would free up money for Tehran to arm and support the government of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, Shiite militias and Israel s enemies in the region, including Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
The United States and European nations lifted oil and financial sanctions on Iran and released roughly $100 billion of its assets after international inspectors concluded that the country had followed through on promises to dismantle large sections of its nuclear program. “Iran has undertaken significant steps that many people – and I do mean many – doubted would ever come to pass,: Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday.
An Iranian nuclear official on Tuesday denied a report that technicians had removed the core of the country s only heavy-water reactor and poured concrete into the cavity, a final step toward the completion of the historic nuclear agreement in July and the lifting of sanctions on Iran. The official, Ali Asghar Zarean, Iran s deputy nuclear chief, told state television that a report about the Arak reactor by the semiofficial Fars News Agency on Monday was baseless. He added that Iran planned to sign an agreement next week with China to modify the reactor, which is capable of producing the plutonium needed to build an atomic weapon.
Secretary of State John Kerry answered criticism by those who fear that a new law pertaining to travel visas could undermine the recent Iran nuclear agreement. “Recent changes in visa requirements passed in Congress, which the administration has the authority to waive, will not in any way prevent us from meeting our JPCOA requirements,” Kerry wrote Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in reference to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal.