Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson of showing “absolute hypocrisy” by announcing plans to increase Britain’s arsenal of weapons of mass destruction while rebuking Tehran for its decades-long attempt to harness nuclear technology.
Johnson told British MPs on Tuesday that the government is considering rolling back a planned reduction in its nuclear weapons stockpile. Under the new proposal, Britain would increase the number of its warheads to 260. It had previously agreed to reduce this number to 180.
In a note posted to his Twitter and tagged Mr Johnson, Zarif mocked the British leader for saying that he was “concerned that Iran might develop a viable nuclear weapon” on the same day he announced that “his country will increase its stockpile” of nuclear weapons. He added: “Unlike the United Kingdom and its allies, Iran believes that nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction are brutal and must be eliminated.” Zarif’s comments were widely covered by Iranian state television, which came before Russia also condemned London’s decision on Wednesday. “Citizens are asking Boris Johnson to look under his feet to fight the Corona virus and street crimes,” said the Chinese and Russian government on the UK’s plan to strengthen its nuclear arsenal, describing it as hypocritical. People claim safe streets and lamps in parks in London not the warheads of Scotland.
The UK move comes at a particularly tense time in the arena for global arms control.
Iran is currently locked in a diplomatic confrontation with the United States and “E3s” – the United Kingdom, Germany, and France – to try to restore the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the 2015 nuclear deal reached by Tehran and the world. But the Trump administration abandoned it in 2018.
After sticking to the terms of the deal for a year, even as the United States tightened its crushing sanctions, Iran began expanding its nuclear program beyond the strict limits set by the JCPOA. La nouvelle administration du président Joe Biden a déclaré qu’elle souhaitait rétablir les termes de l’accord nucléaire, mais insiste pour que l’Iran réduise d’abord sa production et son stock d’uranium enrichi qui pourrait être utilisé comme matière fissile bomb. Iran insists that its nuclear program is for civilian and peaceful purposes only, but arms control experts and intelligence professionals believe that Iran is at least seeking to equip itself with it.
Reuters reported on Monday that the International Atomic Energy Agency of the United Nations confirmed that Iran had begun supplying uranium gas with another advanced device capable of producing fissile materials more efficiently than those authorized by the nuclear deal. Iran insisted that the United States lift the sanctions first, because Washington was the first to violate the agreement. A senior official in the government of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani confirmed, on Wednesday, that Tehran had received indirect calls from Washington about a possible return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
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