US lawmakers concerned over reports of 'secret deal' with Iran

Deeply concerned over reports of a "secret side deal" with Iran, two top US Senators have urged the Obama Administration to clarify the situation immediately.

In a joint statement yesterday, Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham said they are "deeply concerned" by recent reports that the Administration has negotiated what some are calling a 'secret side deal' with Iran regarding the future of its nuclear programme.

"Iran's chief nuclear negotiator has claimed that, under this possible agreement, Iran will be permitted to keep all of its nuclear facilities open, continue its enrichment of uranium, and maintain and even expand its nuclear research, including into next-generation centrifuges," the lawmakers said.

"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.

The White House was quick to refute such reports and said no secret deal has been entered into with Iran.

"There is no secret agreement. The documentation associated with the implementation arrangements tracks completely with what we have described, which are technical plans submitted to the IAEA," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, told reporters.

The White House said this is another indication of reporting that's not accurate.

"The technical understandings clarify how the provisions of the joint plan of action, the publicly released joint plan of action, will be implemented and verified and the timing of implementation of its provisions," Carney said.

"This is not solely a US process. It's not an agreement negotiated solely between the United States and Iran. These are understandings that were reached with our P-5 plus one partners, the European Union, the IAEA and Iran," he said.

"We will make the text available to the Congress and the public. But we must work with the parties on when and in what format the information will be released, and we hope to do that soon," he said.

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.

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