White House says reports of sanctions relief for Iran are exaggerated

A first phase agreement with Iran would only provide moderate relief and nowhere close to the $40 billion to $50 billion in relief cited in some exaggerated reports, the White House said on Monday.

Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, made the remarks on Monday during his daily press briefing. When asked to shed some light on the accurate figures proposed in a deal with Iran to roll back the country's nuclear program, Carney said the relief is modest and reversible.

"I can shed some light on what the accurate figures are not," Carney said. "There have been reports of $40 to $50 billion in relief, and those reports are significantly exaggerated. It is important to recognize, 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."

Carney said the relief for the first phase would leave the entire structure of the sanctions regime in place so that the relief could be quickly removed if necessary. He said the purpose of the sanctions relief and the agreement is to stop the progress of Iran's nuclear program.

"The purpose of doing it is to acknowledge that there's no comprehensive agreement achievable at the beginning of a P5+1 process, and that it is far preferable for the P5+1 and all of our international partners and allies for us 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," Carney said.

Carney said President Obama would provide an update on the negotiations with Iran on Tuesday during a meeting with the leaders of multiple Senate committees.