Iran foreign minister says ‘nothing to hide’ in nuclear deal

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After the White House showed select members of congress a text of the nuclear agreement between the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) and Iran and released a summary to the public, Iran’s foreign minister and chief nuclear negotiator claimed that only “parts” of the agreement had been released.

Zarif told the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) that the Joint Action Plan is the agreement between Iran and the P5+1 when it was made and was published both in its original (English) and in Persian for the public, and therefore “there is nothing to hide” with respect to the Geneva agreement.

Agreements after the November Geneva deal were “verbal agreements” and had to do with the implementation of the Geneva agreement only, Zarif said. He added that officials within the Islamic Republic of Iran were shown this “verbal agreement” in English and Persian, but he did not specify which officials. “Official agreements” between Iran and other countries must be ratified by parliament, which is dominated by Principlists.

Last week, it was announced that the Geneval deal would take effect on Jan. 20. Shortly after, the White House released a summary detailing what Iran and the P5+1 were committed to doing and verifying payment installments to Iran of $4.2 billion in unblocked money in a document titled “Summary of Technical Understandings Related to the Implementation of the Joint Action Plan on the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Nuclear Program.” The White House reportedly showed select lawmakers the entire document.

Zarif criticized the fact that “some countries” released parts of this “verbal agreement,” which he referred to as a “none-paper” agreement, despite the fact that “it wasn’t very long.” He suggested that the summary was released due to “domestic issues.” He said that either way, what is important for Iran is the “continuation of the implementation of the nuclear deal.” The International Atomic Energy Agency arrived in Iran yesterday to begin their monitoring the implementation of the deal.

On Jan. 13, the Los Angeles Times reported, “Key elements of the new nuclear deal agreement between Iran and six world powers are contained in an informal, 30-page text not yet publicly acknowledged by Western officials.”

Their report was based on an interview given by Iran negotiator and Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi to ISNA on Jan. 12. ISNA wrote: “Without answering the question, [Araghchi] responded to questions about the existence of a 30-page document between Iran and the P5+1 about the implementation of the Geneva deal; he said, “Publishing documents that come about in regard to the implementation of the agreement means making them official, and since the agreement is verbal, publishing it is not necessary.”

According to the ISNA transcript, Araghchi used the term “non-paper” to describe this agreement.

Araghchi was asked by ISNA if it is not better to just publish the documents in case differences over interpretations arise or if the P5+1 does not perform its obligations. He said, “This matter is not open to interpretation. It is clear that if we confront a problem during the timing of implementation of the agreement, a joint committee within the framework of the agreement was [thought of ahead of time], which differences of interpretation and differences of opinion can be referred to.”