White House says Iran agreement meant to halt nuclear development

An agreement with Iran is meant to stop the clock on Iran's development of its nuclear program, the White House said on Thursday.

Josh Earnest, the principal deputy press secretary for the White House, made the remarks on Thursday during a press briefing. Earnest said the U.S. and the other negotiating nations would accomplish a lot with a first phase denuclearization agreement with Iran. He said the agreement would stop Iran from developing its nuclear program and put sanctions in place to verify that Iran is pursuing a nuclear program solely for peaceful needs.

"That's ultimately what we're trying to get an agreement around - an agreement around Iran not trying to build a nuclear weapon, but respecting their ability to have access to a nuclear program that is demonstrably for exclusively peaceful means," Earnest said.

Earnest reiterated that the sanctions relief proposed in the deal would be limited, targeted and reversible. The relief would only come if Iran agreed to stop its nuclear development.

"What we're looking at is a very limited, targeted, reversible manner in providing relief to the Iranian regime in exchange for some very specific things -- halting and rolling back the Iranian nuclear program as it relates specifically to their stockpile, but also halting their program as it relates to the installation of advanced centrifuges and also as it relates to the plutonium track in the context of the heavy-water plant in Arak," Earnest said.