Rowhani: nuclear facilities ‘red line’

Iran’s president said the level of uranium enrichment will be determined by fuel needs

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Iran will not dismantle its nuclear facilities as demanded by its arch-foe Israel and some U.S. conservative lawmakers, President Hassan Rowhani told the Financial Times in an interview published on Friday.

World powers reached a deal with Iran last week to curb its nuclear program in exchange for limited relief of sanctions stifling its economy.

Israel criticized the deal as a “historical mistake” with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying a comprehensive deal with Iran “must, in the end, lead to the result of the dismantling of Iran’s military nuclear capability.”

When asked by the Financial Times if Tehran whether dismantling its nuclear facilities is a “red line” Rowhani replied: “100 percent.”

Rowhani further stressed that the level to which Iran will continue to enrich uranium will be determined by the country’s need for fule.

Regarding Iran’s future relation with the United States, Rowhani said: “We need to decrease tensions at this stage and create mutual trust step by step. The problems created over 35 years cannot be resolved over a limited time,” he said.

“The best test to see whether we are capable of building trust or not is this nuclear issue. If the first steps taken in Geneva are implemented carefully and precisely, it would mean that we have taken one step forward toward trust,” Rowhani said.

Iran’s six-month freeze of its nuclear program agreed with world powers in Geneva will start by early January, Tehran’s envoy to the U.N. atomic watchdog indicated Friday.

"We expect that either at the end of December or the beginning of January we should start implementing the measures agreed by both sides," Reza Najafi, envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency, told reporters, according to AFP.

The freeze is meant to make it more difficult for Iran to develop a nuclear weapon and to build confidence while Tehran and the P5+1 hammer out a long-term accord.

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