Iran supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's claim that the United States is “lying” about the terms of a framework nuclear agreement will not derail the negotiations, the White House said Friday.

“The test of whether or not that framework can be memorialized in a deal is not going to be a comment on any given day by a particular Iranian leader,” deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters.

Whether a final deal is reached will depend on the ability of negotiators from the U.S., Iran and five other world powers to produce a document by the end of June that “meets our core objectives of preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon,” Rhodes said.


Khamenei on Thursday accused the U.S. of publishing a fact sheet about the framework agreement that misrepresented what was agreed to, particularly on the pace of sanctions relief and inspections of nuclear sites.

The ayatollah’s comments raised concerns that the differences between Iran and other world powers would be too vast to reach a final deal by the June 30 deadline.

Republicans, meanwhile, have seized on his remarks to argue that the “framework” announced last week wasn’t really a deal at all.

“The Ayatollah and President Obama appear to be talking about two separate agreements and unfortunately, I can’t say I’m surprised,” Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin Graham19 House Democrats call on Capitol physician to mandate vaccines The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by AT&T - Simone wins bronze with altered beam routine The job of shielding journalists is not finished MORE (R-S.C.), who is considering a run for president in 2016, said in a statement Friday.

“President Obama wants a deal way too badly, and his administration has been trying to sell a deal which may not actually exist,” he added.

Under the framework agreement, Iran would accept limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions that have crippled its economy.

Iran has called for the sanctions to be removed upon the completion of a deal, but the U.S. and its negotiating partners want them lifted gradually as Iran proves it is abiding by the terms of an agreement. 

Rhodes dismissed Khamenei's comments as an attempt to assuage hard-liners in Iran who are opposed to the talks, saying they “cannot change the facts” of the framework agreement.  

“We have been through this before, where the Iranians clearly want to highlight certain aspects for their own public,” he said. “They have their own hard-liners who are skeptical of this deal.”

Rhodes noted Iranian officials made similar complaints after an interim deal was reached in November 2013, but that Iran eventually honored that agreement, which paved the way for talks to advance.

The U.S. maintains that sanctions relief “will be phased” with respect to Iran, Rhodes said. He said the United Nations would aim to replace existing sanctions with a resolution reflecting the nuclear agreement, with the ability to snap sanctions back into place if Iran violates the terms.

If Iran cannot accept those terms, Rhodes suggested there will be no deal.

“If the details don’t bear out the agreement that was reached, we’re not going to get a final deal,” he said.