State Department: Let us be clear — “there is no secret agreement” with Iran

posted at 4:01 pm on January 14, 2014 by Erika Johnsen

The White House’s release of the text of the P5+1′s office interim deal with Iran to either the public and/or Congress is still to-be-determined-if-at-all, as Ed summed up this morning, but the State Department would like to be especially clear that the LA Times’ report on some sort of “nonpaper” agreement was merely a matter of misinterpretation and nothing more — via the WFB:

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters on Tuesday that there is no secret deal.

“Let me be very clear: There is no secret agreement here,” Harf said. “The documentation associated with the implementation agreement tracks completely with what we’ve described, which are technical plans submitted to the IAEA.” …

Harf said that Aragchi’s remarks had been misinterpreted.

“The deputy foreign minister, I believe, is who you’re referring to — came out today and said that his comments — and I am not quoting him directly here, but — were not entirely accurate — were misconstrued,” Harf maintained.

Although I’m sure plenty of members of Congress would like to be provided with some sort of more concrete assurance of that to clear up the confusion, among other things; no doubt the Senate Democrats the Obama administration is calling over to the White House tomorrow for a chat about the utmost importance of laying off of further sanctions will be pressing for more details. Via the Financial Times:

President Barack Obama has summoned Senate Democrats to the White House for a rare meeting on Wednesday as he seeks to head off a congressional rebellion that he fears could undermine his efforts at diplomacy with Iran. …

Even though support for the sanctions bill has grown in recent weeks, there are no signs yet that Senate majority leader Harry Reid will put it up for a vote. Moreover, some of the Democratic senators who have sponsored the bill have also shown signs of flexibility.

“I want to talk to some of my colleagues,” Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, said on Monday. “I’m encouraged and heartened by the apparent progress [in diplomacy with Iran] and certainly the last thing I want to do is impede that progress.”

Meanwhile, however, the other chamber is getting to work on their own version of the Senate’s Iranian-sanctions legislation, with a mind to putting the pressure on both the White House and Harry Reid to allow a vote in the Senate, via the WSJ:

Lawmakers in the House have begun a push for a vote on the same legislative language as the bill circulating in the Senate to “help push that over the finish line,” said a person familiar with discussions. If the House were to pass legislation matching the bill in the Senate, it would speed the process of sending a bill to Mr. Obama’s desk because the two chambers would not have to go through the process of reconciling their different bills.

The shift in legislative strategy comes after House leaders last month devised Iran sanctions legislation that was far more stringent than the Senate bill. That effort was delayed after intense lobbying from the White House.


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