White House says critique of denuclearization deal with Iran is premature

There is no deal between the U.S. and Iran in the P5+1 talks and any critiques of the hypothetical deal are premature, the White House said on Friday.

Josh Earnest, the White House principal deputy press secretary, made the remarks on Friday during a press gaggle aboard Air Force One en route to New Orleans. When asked what the White House made of Israel rejecting a deal with Iran that seems to be emerging, Earnest said there is no deal to critique.

"One thing that's important for everybody to understand is that there is no deal," Earnest said. "The reason... that Secretary (of State John) Kerry has traveled to Geneva is to see if he can narrow the differences between the P5+1 - which is the United States and our negotiating partners - and the Iranians. So any critique of the deal is premature."

Earnest reiterated that the U.S. and Israel are in total agreement about the need to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. He said if Iran obtained a nuclear weapon it would not only pose a threat to Israel's security but it would have a destabilizing effect on the broader Middle East.

Earnest said Iran came to the negotiating table because of the crippling sanctions imposed by the U.S. and other countries around the world.

"The only reason that Iran has come to the negotiating table to explore the possibility of demonstrating to the international community that their nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful means is because there is a very tough sanctions regime that's in place, both bilaterally between Iran and the United States, but also a set of multilateral sanctions that have taken a severe toll on the Iranian economy," Earnest said.

Earnest said the White House will consider Iran's attempt to resolve the dispute in a peaceful way.