White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest Addresses Russia's Shipment of Natural Uranium to Iran (Excerpts)

January 9, 2017


Q    -- how Iran ended up with natural uranium as part of the JCPOA?

MR. EARNEST:  I know that there are some public reports about this.  What I can tell you is that, pursuant to the international agreement to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, Iran had to agree to the most intrusive set of inspections and monitoring that’s imposed on any country’s nuclear program.  And so any sort of uranium that is held by the Iranian government will be subject to very strict limits and very strict monitoring for how that material is handled.  All of that will be done consistent with the agreement that does prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and that does prevent Iran from shortening the amount of time that it would take for them to develop a nuclear weapon.

Q    Without getting too much into yellow cake versus other types of uranium we’re talking about here, the transfer of the uranium from Russia to Iran -- that was part of the deal, is that your understanding?

MR. EARNEST:  I’d refer you to the IAEA on this.  What I can tell you is that these kinds of arrangements are carefully negotiated among the parties and, as I mentioned earlier, will be subject to the careful monitoring and inspections that are included in the deal to ensure that Iran is living up to the commitments that they have made.

Thanks, everybody, we’ll see you on the plane tomorrow, at least some of you.