POLITICS: PennAve

White House: Any criticism of U.S.-Iran deal is 'premature'

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Politics,White House,Barack Obama,John Kerry,Iran,PennAve,Susan Crabtree,State Department,Middle East,Nuclear Weapons

The White House said any criticism of an expected deal between the U.S. and Iran that would put a halt to Tehran's nuclear program and life some sanctions was “premature” because the two sides had yet to finalize an agreement.

“There is not deal. Any critique of the deal is premature,” White House spokesman Joshua Earnest told reporters traveling with the president to New Orleans Friday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu early Friday delivered a blistering blow to details of a possible deal he said Secretary of State John Kerry shared with him during a stop he made in Tel Aviv on Thursday before heading to Geneva for multi-party talks.

“Netanyahu called it “the deal of the century for Iran” but a “very, very, bad” deal for the international community.

“Iran gets everything that it wanted at this stage and it pays nothing,” Netanyahu said. He said the sanctions regime in place now is “why Iran is under severe pressure.”

Netanyahu urged Kerry not to “rush to sign” but “to wait, to reconsider, to get a good deal.”

Amid international media reports that a preliminary deal is expected, Kerry is set to meet Friday with Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and the European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, who is overseeing the negotiations over iran's nuclear program.

Declining to delve into what a prospective deal might entail, Earnest said only that Kerry is in Geneva to see if he could “help narrow the differences” in the negotiations.

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