A senior State Department official on Wednesday pushed back against Republican claims that the administration worked out secret bargains with Iran while hammering out the landmark nuclear agreement.
The charge was leveled Tuesday by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kansas). The two said they met with officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last weekend and said two side deals were made in addition to the formal Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
State Department spokesman John Kirby rebutted the claim.
“There's no side deals. There's no secret deals between Iran and the IAEA that the P5+1 has not been briefed on in detail,” he said during a press briefing.
Kirby acknowledged that lawmakers have expressed interest in two documents in addition to the JCPOA, annexes and related materials the department sent lawmakers Sunday.
“Congress has what we have, and what's being asked for here are IAEA documents or material that is not in our possession,” he said.
“These kinds of technical arrangements with the IAEA are a matter of standard practice, that they're not released publicly or to other states, but our experts are familiar and comfortable with the contents, which we would be happy to discuss with Congress in a classified setting,” Kirby added.
On Tuesday, the leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said they had fired off a letter requesting access to the rerports.
Kirby's comments come as Secretary of State Kerry, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew give a classified briefing on the deal to House lawmakers.
The trio will also appear before the Foreign Relations panel Thursday to discuss the deal, part of the administration’s lobbying effort to sell the accord to a deeply skeptical Capitol Hill.
Kirby said there “will be ample opportunity” to address the issue during the meetings.
“These are issues between Iran and the IAEA, these technical agreements are never shared outside the state being questioned in the IAEA. But we have been briefed on them,” he said.
“And we are more than comfortable in a classified setting discussing that. Should that be of interest today, I am absolutely certain that Secretary Kerry would be willing to talk about, as well as Secretary Moniz,” according to Kirby.