The White House has sent the text of an agreement to implement an interim nuclear deal reached with Iran in November to the U.S. Congress.
A summary of the deal
, reached on January 12, was released to the media. The move comes following criticism in Washington that the Obama administration was keeping the agreement secret.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said it is the preference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to keep technical details of the agreement confidential.
The IAEA has been tasked to ensure and verify that Iran is fulfilling its commitments.
In addition, a joint commission that includes experts from major powers and Iran will be established to work with the IAEA to monitor implementation of the Joint Plan of Action.
According to the summary, Iran has committed itself to "increased and unprecedented transparency" into its nuclear program starting on January 20 in return for limited sanctions relief of between $6 billion and $7 billion.
The summary says the relief is such that the majority of the sanctions regime, including the key oil, banking, and financial sanctions, remains in place. "Sanctions will continue to be vigorously implemented throughout the six-month period," it said.
On the first day of the implementation of the agreement, Iran is required to halt the production of near-20-percent enriched uranium and the disabling of the centrifuges is has been using to produce them.
In the course of the implementation of the deal, Iran is required to take a number of other steps, including not commissioning or fueling the Arak Heavy Water Reactor.
In exchange, Iran will be given gradual access to to $4.2 billion in restricted Iranian funds throughout the six months that the interim agreement is due to last. The access to the funds is contingent on the IAEA confirmation that Iran is fulfilling its commitments. The first installment of $550 million will be released on February 1.
"Iran will not have access to the final installment of the $4.2 billion until the last day of the six-month period," the summary says.
The document was released on January 16, one day after U.S, President Barack Obama urged Senate Democrats not to join Republicans to pass new sanctions against Iran, which administration officials believe could derail the diplomatic process.
Obama made the call in a January 15 meeting with Democratic senators, Carney said.
"What the president said, as I think a story reflected today, is exactly what we've been saying publicly, which is that we appreciate the enormously beneficial partnership we've had with Congress in building the most effective sanctions regime in history. But that now is not the time to pass a new sanctions measure because it might have the inadvertent consequence of weakening the sanctions regime and reducing the president's flexibility when it comes to pursuing a potential peaceful resolution to the Iranian nuclear program," Carney said.
Undersecretary Wendy Sherman was reportedly also due to meet with Senators on January 17 as part of efforts to stop a push to pass new Iran sanctions legislation.