‘The US cannot do a damn thing’ against us, Iran’s foreign minister scoffs

As secret ‘add-on accord’ leaks, Zarif says Tehran got what it wanted from nuclear deal — an America impotent to intervene in its affairs

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in New York, April 22, 2016 (AFP/Bryan R. Smith)
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in New York, April 22, 2016 (AFP/Bryan R. Smith)

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Tuesday scorned US global influence as impotent, boasting that Iran got its way in a landmark nuclear deal and that the “US cannot do a damn thing” to intervene in its affairs.

“The US which, by relying on its hegemonic power, demanded that Iran shouldn’t have even one centrifuge and imposed different types of sanctions against the country, was faced with 20,000 centrifuges,” Zarif said, referring to uranium enriching machinery, which was a key negotiating point in talks leading to the deal signed last year with world powers.

“The US that once said Arak’s heavy water reactor should be destroyed, has not only accepted the heavy water reactor but also purchases heavy water from Iran today and contributes a role in efforts to redesign it,” he added during a meeting with university and school students in Tehran, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.

America, he asserted, is powerless to influence Iran.

“Despite spending billions (of dollars) in countries like Afghanistan, the Americans have not been able yet to understand this reality that the era of pressure and imposition of their will has ended; our people have imposed this reality on the Americans,” he said. “As the late Imam (Khomeini) said, the US cannot do a damn thing and we can thwart any plot against the country by relying on our people’s power.”

Zarif also claimed that divine intervention had preserved Iran’s stability in a volatile Middle East: “It is because we have understood the basics of power and the most powerful power in the world is God.”

Zarif’s bragging came after he earlier defended a provision of the nuclear deal that allows Tehran to begin ramping up its nuclear program after 10 years.

The foreign minister said the secret document, submitted by Iran to the International Atomic Energy Agency and outlining plans to expand Iran’s uranium enrichment program, was a “matter of pride.”

He said it was created by Iran’s “negotiators and experts.”

Zarif’s remarks, carried by the Fars news agency on Tuesday, followed revelations the day before of the confidential document — an add-on agreement to the nuclear deal signed last year with world powers — that Iran gave the IAEA.

The document, obtained by The Associated Press in Vienna, outlines Tehran’s plans to expand its uranium enrichment program after the first 10 years of the nuclear deal, essentially allowing it to get within six months or less of building a nuclear weapon well before the deal’s 15-year expiration date.

Iranian nuclear facility (photo credit: CC-BY nanking2010/Wikipedia)
Heavy water reactor facility near Arak, Iran (photo credit: CC-BY nanking2010/Wikipedia/File)

The document is the only part linked to last year’s deal between Iran and six foreign powers that hasn’t been made public. It was given to the AP by a diplomat whose work has focused on Iran’s nuclear program for more than a decade, and its authenticity was confirmed by another diplomat who possesses the same document.

Israel said Monday that the document underlined its concerns about the nuclear deal.

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