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White House warns Congress over opposing Iran deal

PTI | Last Updated: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - 09:41

Washington: The White House said on Tuesday that world powers are united in their effort to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran and warned the Congress over opposing the diplomatic efforts, noting that American people do not want a march to war.

Asserting that Iran rejected the unified proposal form the six-nation P5 Plus One group on Tehran’s nuclear weapons program, the White House on Tuesday said diplomatic option continues to remain even if the military option is not off the table when it comes to Iran.

"The P-5-plus-1 were unified on the proposal that was put forward and that the Iranians did not accept that proposal -- and that`s a statement of fact," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters at his daily news conference.

The negotiations between Iran and the P5 plus One, comprising of the US, France, Britain, China, Russia and Germany would resume in Geneva on November 21 and 22.

At the same time, he cautioned people against incorrect reports and rumours about the negotiations.

Refusing to give details of the negotiations, Carney said any initial relief as part of the first phase would be reversible and modest.

"It would not in any way change the sanctions architecture that`s in place, but it would allow for essentially putting some time on the clock, because it would halt Iran`s programme and roll back aspects of its programme," he said.

"So we`re not going to get into details about our negotiating positions. But to be clear, the purpose of these negotiations is to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. I think that`s important," he said.

Referring to the series of tough economic sanctions he said this has resulted in bringing Iran to the dialogue table.

"We have willingness because of the concentrated effect of these sanctions by Iran to pursue the possibility of resolving this diplomatically. Resolving this diplomatically is the best way to resolve it. It is the responsibility of the president to pursue a diplomatic opening," he said.

"Because the best way to ensure that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon is to achieve an agreement through diplomacy, an agreement that`s verifiable, that`s transparent and that requires Iran to take concrete steps. The alternative is military action," Carney said.

"The President has never taken any option off the table, and he does not now and will not. But it is his responsibility as President to pursue a diplomatic opening to see if it is possible to resolve this issue peacefully," he said.

"This administration has imposed the most crippling sanctions in history against Iran, and we appreciate the leverage those sanctions have given us and we appreciate the partnership that Congress has given us in that effort. But this is a decision to support diplomacy and a possible peaceful resolution to this issue," he said.

"The American people justifiably and understandably prefer a peaceful solution that prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. And this agreement, if it`s achieved, has the potential to do that. The American people do not want a march to war.

First Published: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - 09:41

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