Secretary of Energy Ernest MonizErnest Jeffrey MonizPompeo: Kerry's conversations with Iran 'unseemly and unprecedented' The Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — Mueller indicts 12 Russian officials for DNC hack | Trump does damage control after bombshell interview Pope to meet with oil execs to discuss climate change: report MORE said on Wednesday that economic sanctions were not preventing Iran’s nuclear arms research.

The Iran deal negotiator added that placing greater restrictions on Iran’s atomic energy capabilities better prevents its acquisition of nuclear weapons instead.

ADVERTISEMENT

“First of all, we all know that sanctions were effective in bringing Iran to the table,” Moniz said on CNN’s “New Day.”

“It did not stop them from pursuing a nuclear weapons program quite aggressively,” he added.

The Obama administration announced a landmark deal on Tuesday restricting Iran’s nuclear capabilities in exchange for economic sanctions relief.

Moniz argued on Wednesday that the agreement’s details will keep Tehran in check for years to come.

“This is a long-term deal that has various phases,” he said.

“There are extremely serious constraints on what Iran can do in a nuclear capacity,” Moniz said.

“Make no mistake about it – this agreement has stronger restrictions on Iran than would be in place without it,” he added.

Moniz also rebuked criticisms that the sanctions relief Iran is receiving would help its military and terrorism sponsorship.

“It was clear from the beginning these were negotiations about the nuclear issue,” he said of international talks started 20 months ago.

“Our deal is not based on an assumption about how they will spend these funds,” Moniz said of money Iran received from the lifting of sanctions.

“Clearly, we all hope this could lead to different behavior,” he added.

Moniz additionally said that Secretary of State John Kerry had repeatedly sought the release of four Americans currently languishing in Iranian custody.

“Secretary of Kerry never failed to raise the issue of the Americans unjustly held in Iran,” he said. “These issues – a whole range of them – were there.”