Iran could soon receive billions of dollars in sanctions relief under the terms of its historic nuclear deal with world powers, but not quite yet, the White House said Friday.
“We’re not going to take their word for it,” Earnest said.
Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryDepleted Dems look to Senate for 2020 nominee Voters want to drain the swamp? They can start with Louisiana GOP As Congress adjusts to Trump, Iran put under the pressure it deserves MORE has indicated this week that the long-awaited moment could come for Iran within days.
But Earnest refused to say when the decision will be made to lift sanctions and release billions of dollars in frozen assets to Iran.
The spokesman said Iran has eliminated 90 percent of its nuclear stockpile, dismantled thousands of centrifuges and shut down its path to develop the nuclear materials needed used to build weapons — all under IAEA monitoring.
Sanctions relief for Tehran became even more politically charged after the country took 10 U.S. sailors into custody on Tuesday, an incident Republicans said was proof of the Obama administration’s weakness in dealing with Iran.
But Earnest rapped critics, saying they fail to acknowledge that Iran was racing toward a bomb before the deal was reached, a process halted by the agreement.
He also accused opponents of the deal of exaggerating the amount of sanctions relief Iran will receive. The amount is between $50 billion and $100 billion, not $150 billion as some, such as Republican presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump showcases Cabinet picks on 'thank you tour' Trump: Time changed award to 'Person of the Year' to be 'politically correct' Feinstein after dinner with Clinton: She has 'accepted' her loss MORE, have stated.