The White House on Thursday provided members of Congress with full access to the text of the finalized short-term nuclear deal with Iran, and announced it would release a detailed summary of the agreement later in the day.
The move comes amid calls from lawmakers and nuclear experts for access to the agreement, which is designed to freeze Iran’s nuclear program for six months in exchange for sanctions relief.
“Today we provided Congress with the document containing the technical understandings related to the implementation of the Joint Plan of Action,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said.
The White House spokesman said that the text released to the public will not include “certain technical aspects” that will remain confidential, and said “these types of documents are not always made public.”
“However, in fulfillment of our commitment to release as much of the information in the text as possible to the public — so in addition to providing the full text to the Congress, we will release a detailed summary of the text publicly today,” Carney said.
The details of the agreement are sure to come under intense scrutiny, with critics of the deal having already expressed concern that it could provide Tehran wiggle room to move ahead with parts of its nuclear weapons program.
Those fears were amplified earlier this week when Abbas Araqchi, Iran’s nuclear negotiator, told a state media outlet that a secret side agreement had been made detailing some of the technical agreements. The Obama administration has disputed that characterization, and Carney said Iranian leaders were describing the deal “for their domestic audience.”
Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) seized on the comments, saying they were “deeply concerned” by the reports in a statement.
“We call on the Obama Administration to clarify this situation immediately and ensure that members of Congress are fully and promptly informed about its nuclear diplomacy with Iran,” the senators said. “If true, these reports only add greater urgency to the calls from an increasing number of members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to pass new bipartisan sanctions legislation as soon as possible.”