White House defends Iranian policy, Obama to brief Senators
Washington: The White House has defended its policy of engagement with Iran with officials saying President Barack Obama is slated to meet top American Senators on Tuesday.
The President will meet leading members of key Senate committees on the eve of the next round of talks between world powers and Iran in Geneva aimed at clinching an interim deal to boost diplomacy on ending a nuclear showdown.
The talks come amid both parties on the Capitol Hill mulling slapping extra sanctions on Iran, reasoning that painful economic punishments could prod it to capitulate.
As Obama prepared to brief lawmakers, a presidential spokesperson termed "exaggerated" the reports of relief that Iran would get in the aftermath of a possible deal with the so-called six nation P5 plus One comprising the United States, France, Britain, China, Russia and Germany.
"Since the goal that we all share is making sure Iran does not and cannot acquire a nuclear weapon, we need to pursue the possibility that we can achieve that goal peacefully through diplomacy," the White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney told reporters.
"As President and others have said, the surest way to make sure that Iran does not have a nuclear weapon and does not have it for the long term is an agreement and a decision by Tehran to give up pursuit of a nuclear weapon.
But we have to obviously couple that with very intrusive verification procedures so that we can be confident that that is the case," he said.
So the end goal here is shared by everyone, and there is "no daylight between the "US and Israel" when it comes to that. And there`s "no daylight among the members of the P5-plus-1," he said.
US Secretary of State John Kerry, said he does not has specific expectations with respect to the negotiation in Geneva except that they will negotiate in good faith.
"That is always been our standard. Now, I`m not going to negotiate this in public," he told reporters at a joint news conference with his Turkish counterpart.
Carney said the news reports that interim relief to Iran could be to the tune of about USD 50 billion, are significantly exaggerated.
"It is important to recognise, as we`ve talked about, that the relief that would accompany an agreement for this first phase would be modest and it would be eminently reversible.
"This is modest and it is reversible, and it`s the kind of relief that ensures that even as it`s provided, the other sanctions remain in place and continue to have an effect," he said.
The purpose of doing it is to acknowledge that there`s no
comprehensive agreement achievable at the beginning of a P5-plus-1 process, and that it is far preferable for the P5-plus-1 and all of international partners and allies for them to lock in a halt to the progress of the program and to roll back certain aspects of it as we negotiate a comprehensive agreement, or see if one is achievable, he added.
"The alternative would be to engage in an effort to find out whether or not there`s a comprehensive agreement achievable without any kind of first phase and therefore without any halt to the progress.
"And so that period where we were having these negotiations would also be marked by continued progress by Iran on its program. So we believe that this two-phased approach is the right approach to take, and the President will be talking about that with Senate leaders tomorrow," Carney said.
Meanwhile, the State Department said Kerry is open to attending the meeting in Geneva later this week if need be.
"We are obviously, as has been the case from the beginning, the Secretary is open to attending Geneva or going to Geneva if that makes sense.
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