Iranian President Hassan Rouhani declared that the Islamic Republic will not dismantle key components of its nuclear program notwithstanding the deal it had made with Western powers.

In an interview with CNN, Rouhani stated:

“In the context of R&D [Research and Development] and peaceful nuclear technology, we will not accept any limitations.”

Coming off of what political commentators had termed a “charm offensive” Rouhani – at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland – defended Iran’s right to develop a domestic nuclear program for “peaceful purposes,” such as science and medicine. In his interview with CNN, the Iranian president promoted Iranian scientific achievements and their importance to the Iranian people.

“It is a part of our national pride, and nuclear technology has become indigenous…. We are standing on our own two feet,” he said. “Iranian scientists have designed this. We have constructed it. It’s nearly finished. So when it comes to medical concerns, we cannot accept limitations.”

Rouhani’s statements are the most recent in a stream of similar declarations from top Iranian politicians indicating that Iran will not dismantle its nuclear program. Last week Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stated in an interview:

“We are not dismantling any centrifuges, we are not dismantling any equipment.”

In November 2013, the P5+1 world powers (United States, Russia, China, France, United Kingdom and Germany) and Iran reached an interim agreement regarding the latter’s nuclear program. That deal was supposed to take effect on January 20 of this year, with a continuation of negotiations aimed at reaching a final-status agreement.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney responded to questions regarding Rouhani’s recent statements, saying, “I think we’ve answered repeatedly that how Iranian officials characterize this for a domestic audience matters far less to us than what they are actually doing.”

In response to Rouhani’s interview, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said:

“If Iran persists in saying this, it means that the permanent agreement, which is the goal of any diplomatic process with Iran, cannot succeed. In effect, Iran is insisting on maintaining its ability to attain fissionable material for a bomb without any time constraints following the breakthrough. This means that many of the things which we have been saying will come true – are indeed coming true.”

Questioned about the possibility of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear sites, Rouhani asserted:

“Israel knows very well what the response would be. Israel knows well our regional capability. When it comes to practice, the Israelis cannot do that. If they do such a crazy thing, our response will make them rue the day.”

Regarding Israel’s determination to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear capability, Netanyahu said that “such a country cannot be allowed to have the ability to produce nuclear weapons. This has been, and remains, our policy.”

Author: Alex Fiedler, contributor, UWI
Date: Jan. 26, 2014