Iran FM slams Pompeo’s about-turn on nuclear program
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has slammed the U-turn in his American counterpart’s position on Iran’s nuclear activities, highlighting Mike Pompeo’s previous remarks in which he affirmed that Tehran had never tried to develop nuclear weapons.
Issuing a press statement on Monday, Pompeo referred to so-called documents demonstrated by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who alleged that the Islamic Republic had a nuclear weapons program before signing the multilateral nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), with the P5+1 group of countries in 2015, adding that the deal was based on lies.
Following Netanyahu’s example, Pompeo also repeated the same accusations and said in a statement on Monday that “the documents show that Iran had a secret nuclear weapons program for years. Iran sought to develop nuclear weapons and missile delivery systems.”
Pompeo, until last week director of the CIA, added, “Now that the world knows Iran has lied and is still lying, it is time to revisit the question of whether Iran can be trusted to enrich or control any nuclear material.”
Taking to his official Twitter account on Tuesday, Zarif questioned Pompeo’s conflicting positions on Iran’s nuclear program saying, “On 4/12, Pompeo testified no need to worry about nixing JCPOA as Iran ‘not racing to a weapon before the deal’, nor would ‘turn to race to…weapon’ after.”
The top Iranian diplomat added that Pompeo now says it is “time to revisit question of whether Iran can be trusted to enrich…any nuclear material,” asking, “So, which one is it?”
In a statement on Tuesday, a spokesman for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) declined to directly address the hawkish Israeli leader’s accusations, but said the agency had “no credible indications of activities in Iran relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device after 2009,” citing its assessments from 2015.
The IAEA spokesman said, “In line with standard IAEA practice, the IAEA evaluates all [nuclear] safeguards-relevant information available to it. However, it is not the practice of the IAEA to publicly discuss issues related to any such information.”
Immediately after Netanyahu’s claims, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said that the Israeli prime minister was playing a baseless childish, naive game.
“What we saw from Netanyahu was nothing but a childish and ridiculous show,” Araqchi told Press TV on Monday, adding that it was also a repeat of Netanyahu’s speeches in the past.
Netanyahu’s accusations came as US President Donald Trump considers whether to pull out of the 2015 nuclear accord.
Trump is a stern critic of the nuclear deal, reached under his predecessor Barack Obama, and has repeatedly warned that he might ultimately terminate the agreement.
He said on January 12 that he wanted America’s European allies to use the 120-day period before sanctions relief again came up for renewal to agree to tougher measures and new conditions; otherwise Washington would pull out of the deal.