Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani declared to a crowd in Khuzestan Province just before the January 20 historic signing of the interim nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 (the US, Britain, Russia, China and Germany): “Do you know what the Geneva agreement means? It means the big powers have surrendered before the Great Iranian nation.”  Last week in Davos, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif once again underscored this view: “We did not agree to dismantle anything.”

Tehran’s “victory”? Perhaps. In the interim deal worked out in Geneva, Iran is not allowed to operate additional enrichment centrifuges, but it is permitted to continue enriching uranium to less than 5 percent. It might seem that Iran was given tacit recognition by the international community for its “right” to enrich uranium, which it claims under the 1970 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, but whether this is so will be worked out in the long-term agreement to be negotiated with Iran starting next week.
 
Exercising this “right,” in practical terms, would mean allowing Iran to produce all the 3.5 percent low-enriched uranium needed to fuel its 1,000-megawatt civilian nuclear power reactor at Bushehr on the Persian Gulf, once the present contract with Russia for the fuel expires.

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