POLITICS: PennAve

White House: 'No secret agreement' with Iran

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Politics,White House,Iran,PennAve,Meghashyam Mali,Jay Carney,Hassan Rouhani,Nuclear Weapons,Foreign Policy

White House press secretary Jay Carney on Tuesday denied reports about a secret deal between the U.S. and Iran over Tehran's nuclear program.

“There is no secret agreement,” Carney told reporters.

His denial came after Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator claimed that the interim nuclear deal finalized over the weekend between world powers and Iran had a side agreement with additional terms.

Iranian official Abbas Araqchi described a secret 30-page text that included details on how the nuclear deal would be implemented and claimed it also preserved Iran’s right to continue to develop centrifuge technology.

Carney said that all details of the agreement would be released to Congress and suggested that those reports, as well as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's claims that the west had “surrendered” in negotiations, were part of Tehran's effort to sell the nuclear deal to the Iranian people.

A tweet from the English language account of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that the U.S. and world powers had “surrendered” to Iran’s “will” in negotiations over the country’s nuclear program.

“It doesn't matter what they say; it matters what they do,”Carney told reporters.

“It’s not surprising to us, nor should it be to you, that the Iranians are describing the agreement in a certain way for their domestic audience,” Carney said. “They did the same thing following the agreement of the joint plan of action in November, and we certainly expected they would do the same thing this time.”

“What matters to us, to the P5+1, to the international community, is what Iranian leaders do, what Iran does in keeping its commitments in this agreement,” Carney added.

The controversy comes as the administration presses senators not to pass a new Iran sanctions bill that President Obama says could wreck the temporary diplomatic deal with Tehran.

The deal finalized over the weekend offers some sanctions relief in exchange for Iran freezing aspects of its nuclear program. But senators from both parties are pressing for a new sanctions bill, arguing that the U.S. should keep up economic pressure on Iran to stop their nuclear program.

Iran says it will drop negotiations on a more comprehensive deal if the U.S. passes additional sanctions.

Senate aides said the legislation drafted by Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., was nearing a veto-proof majority, with strong Democratic and GOP support.

But it is unclear if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who backs the White House, will allow a floor vote.

Obama on Monday urged lawmakers to “give peace a chance” and said that diplomacy should be given more time.

This story was published at 2:18 p.m. and has been updated.

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