U.S. energy secretary: Obama seeks 'forever agreement' with Iran

U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz (R) discusses the recent preliminary nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers during the White House daily briefing in Washington April 6, 2015. (Reuters)

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz says the nuclear deal being negotiated with Iran shouldn't be described as a 10-year pact but a "forever agreement" in its beginning stages.

Moniz, a nuclear physicist who has become the face of the science behind the nuclear deal, says the plan would bring "unprecedented access and transparency" to Iran's nuclear program.

Speaking to reporters at the White House, Moniz said Monday the agreement isn't built on trusting Iran but on firm limitations to keep Iran from building a nuclear weapon. He says it also would ensure that it would take at least a one year "breakout period" for Iran to build a bomb if the agreement ends.

The United States and Iran are on the same page about the framework agreement for a nuclear deal agreed last week, Ernest emphasized, seeking to minimize differences in portrayals of the deal by both sides.

Moniz added that the differences were mostly related to what each side chose to emphasize, not over the contents of the agreement itself.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest also told reporters that that details about when and how quickly to lift sanctions on Iran had to be worked out in upcoming negotiations and noted the Obama administration opposed lifting the penalties on the day a potential pact goes into force.

“Details of the phase-out of the sanctions have not been agreed to,” Earnest told reporters.

“It is the strong view of the administration that it would not be wise ... to simply take away sanctions on day one.”

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:44 - GMT 06:44