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White House acknowledges ‘side’ deals between Iran, IAEA
National security adviser Susan Rice on Wednesday acknowledged the existence of side agreements between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Rice said the deals involve Iran accounting for past military uses of its nuclear program, but rejected GOP assertions that this represented "secret" side deals to the Iranian nuclear agreement.
Rice said the documents between Iran and the IAEA are not public, but that the administration has been informed of their contents and will share details with members of Congress in a classified briefing on Capitol Hill.
"We're satisfied with them and we will share the contents of those briefings in full in a classified session with the Congress," she told reporters. "So there's nothing in that regard that we know that they won't know."
Republicans have been demanding to see the Iran-IAEA agreements and have criticized the administration for not yet making them public.
"That we are only now discovering that parts of this dangerous agreement are being kept secret begs the question of what other elements may also be secret and entirely free from public scrutiny," Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said in a statement.
Congress is reviewing the Iran nuclear deal, which lifts sanctions on Tehran in exchange for its concessions on its nuclear program.
President Obama has hailed the deal as a major win for the United States that will keep Tehran from getting nuclear weapons and make the Middle East more safe. Critics argue it does too little to prevent Iranian aggression and that it could leave Israel open to an attack.
The talk of secret side deals could hurt administration efforts to defeat legislation aimed at undermining the deal. Rice took aim at the comments.
She said it was "no secret" that Iran and the IAEA were negotiating an agreement on possible military-related nuclear activities.
She said this had always "been an issue between Iran and the IAEA" and was a sticking point in the talks.
Obama's top national security adviser said all components of the deal the U.S. negotiated have been shared with Congress.
Besides agreeing to discuss the past military dimensions of its nuclear program, Iran struck a deal with the IAEA on inspections at the Parchin military base, one of the most sensitive sites discussed in the U.S.-led international talks.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and ranking member Ben Cardin (D-Md.) wrote a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry requesting that documents related to the deals be submitted to Congress.
Lawmakers have 60 days to review the agreement before voting whether to approve or reject the Iran deal.
Kerry, along with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, were on Capitol Hill Wednesday to hold classified briefings for members.