White House: Iran to finish nuke deal work in coming weeks
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White House: Iran to finish nuke deal work in coming weeks

Deputy national security adviser says still more to be done before any new sanctions against Tehran for missile test

White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes (Photo credit: screenshot/CNN)
White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes (Photo credit: screenshot/CNN)

The US projects Iran will finish work to meet its side of the bargain in the nuclear deal reached last summer in the coming weeks, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said Saturday.

“I would expect the Iranians to complete the work necessary to move forward with implementation in the coming weeks,” Rhodes said, noting that the progress was “on track,” according to Reuters.

The White House said on Saturday it has more diplomatic and technical work to do before it will announce any sanctions in response to ballistic missile launches by Iran.

The US is considering designating a number of additional targets for sanctions related to Iran’s ballistic missile program. Congress has been notified of those deliberations.

Some lawmakers have criticized the administration for what they describe as delayed punitive action in response to Iran’s recent missile tests.

Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser, said the pact that the US and others negotiated with Iran last year to prevent it from developing a nuclear weapon will not impede future sanctions.

“The fact of the matter is we have additional work that needs to be done before we would announce additional designations, but this not something that we would negotiate with the Iranian government,” Rhodes said. “They don’t get a say in who we impose sanctions on.”

Rhodes spoke with reporters about the year ahead in foreign policy as President Barack Obama prepared to return from his annual Christmas vacation in Hawaii.

Rhodes said the additional work the US is undertaking is not based on push-back from Iran.

“We fully expect them to protest our sanctions. They do that when they know we’re preparing them. They do that after we make announcements of designations.” In this latest case, he said, “we just have additional work that we need to do as a U.S. government before we would announce additional designations.”

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