21:50 GMT03 March 2021
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    Only hours after sides reached a framework agreement in the Iranian nuclear negotiations, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused the Obama administration of downplaying gains made by Tehran, simply to appease a paranoid American Congress.

    For a moment, no one was sure if it was going to happen. As the March 31 deadline came and went, the likelihood of an agreement between Iran and the P5+1 nations seemed anything but sure. However, a tentative framework deal was reached on Thursday evening.

    But the political drama isn’t over. Taking to Twitter, Zarif has criticized US officials of misleading the American public about key details of the agreement.

    "The solutions are good for all, as they stand," Zarif tweeted. "There is no need to spin using 'fact sheets' so early on.

    This was in reference to details released by the White House after the deal was made. Zarif says that the fact sheet implies that sanctions against Iran will be lifted gradually, while in reality, the agreement states that all nuclear sanctions will be removed immediately.

    "Iran/5+1 Statement: 'US will cease the application of ALL nuclear-related secondary economic and financial sanctions.' Is this gradual?" he tweeted.

    Earlier, Iranian Press TV, reported other claims which seemed to contradict US claims. While the fact sheet says that “Iran has agreed to not enrich uranium at its Fordow facility for at least 15 years,” Iranian media offered different reports.

    "In the framework of the agreement, none of Iran’s nuclear facilities as well as the previous activities will be stopped, shut down or suspended and Iran’s nuclear activities in all its nuclear facilities including Natanz, Fordow, Isfahan and Arak will continue," Press TV reports.

    Zarif also told reporters that Iran will be allowed to sell enriched uranium on the international market.

    US President Bararck Obama makes a statement at the White House in Washington, DC, on April 2, 2015 after a deal was reached on Iran's nuclear program.
    © AFP 2021 / NICHOLAS KAMM

    Congressional Republicans have consistently stated their objection to any deal made with Iran over its nuclear program, distrusting Tehran's true intentions. After the framework was announced, US House Speaker John Boehner released a statement calling the deal an "alarming departure" from the administration's stated goals. If the White House is trying to downplay crucial details, it could be doing so in an attempt to mislead Republican lawmakers, who will ultimately have to approve any formal agreement before US-imposed sanctions can be lifted.

    According to the White House, the framework deal states that nuclear sanctions against Tehran will be lifted once inspectors have "verified that Iran has taken all of its key nuclear-related steps." Inspections will be in place for at least 15 years, and during that time Iran agrees to operate only 5,060 enrichment centrifuges.

    A critical part of the agreement states that Iran’s "breakout" time – the time needed for Iran to develop a nuclear bomb – will be extended to at least one year. Currently, that breakout time is 2 to 3 months, according to the White House.


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    nuclear negotiations, uranium enrichment, framework agreement, sanctions, P5+1, Javad Zarif, Iran, US, Barack Obama
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