White House denies 10-year freeze deal in works with Iran
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White House denies 10-year freeze deal in works with Iran

Netanyahu blasts reported draft agreement which would let Tehran ‘gradually build up’ nuclear capabilities

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest speaks during his daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, on December 8, 2014. (AP/Jacquelyn Martin)
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest speaks during his daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, on December 8, 2014. (AP/Jacquelyn Martin)

The White House on Tuesday denied reports that the US and Iran were working toward a deal which would see the Islamic republic freeze nuclear activity for a decade in exchange for lifting sanctions.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the US was considering a compromise position which would keep Tehran from “amassing enough material to make a bomb for at least a decade, but could then allow it to gradually build up its capabilities again.” An AP report, similarly, said the emerging deal “would clamp down on Tehran’s nuclear activities for at least 10 years but then slowly ease restrictions on programs that could be used to make atomic arms.”

“Those reports are not correct,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told the press at a briefing on Tuesday. “That does not reflect the accurate negotiating position of the United States and our international partners.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lashed out Tuesday against the reported draft deal.

“This agreement, if indeed it is signed, will allow Iran to become a nuclear threshold state. That is, with the consent of the major powers, Iran – which openly declares its intention to destroy the State of Israel – will receive a license to develop the production of bombs,” Netanyahu said.

The so-called P5+1 group of Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany are trying to strike an accord that would prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear bomb.

In return, the West would ease punishing sanctions imposed on Tehran over its nuclear program, which Iran insists is purely civilian in nature.

“The policy is Iran will not get a nuclear weapon,” Secretary of State John Kerry said earlier Tuesday. “And anybody running around right now, jumping in to say, well, we don’t like the deal, or this or that, doesn’t know what the deal is. There is no deal yet.”

“I don’t know anybody who looks at the interim agreement and doesn’t say, wow, this has really worked — including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who would like to see it extended, having opposed it vehemently in the beginning, calling it the deal of the century for Iran,” he continued.

AP contributed to this report.

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