Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday rejected press reports that said the U.S. is close to an agreement that will give Iran access to nuclear weapons after a decade, and insisted that any final deal will not let Iran develop those weapons.
"I can't state this more firmly," Kerry told a Senate subcommittee. "The policy is, Iran will not get a nuclear weapon."
"And anybody running around right now, jumping in to say well we don't like the deal, or this or that, doesn't know what the deal is. There is no deal yet," he added. "And I caution people to wait and see what these negotiations produce."
Press reports from this week said the U.S. and Iran were close to an agreement that would limit Iran's nuclear program for 10 years, but would then allow Iran to resume its efforts to make nuclear weapons.
The State Department is working toward a March 31 deadline for reaching a framework agreement with Iran.
But an agreement that opens the door to an eventual weapons program in Iran is expected to be harshly criticized by Republicans and even many Democrats. The Associated Press reported Monday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to criticize the emerging agreement when he addresses Congress next week.
Many members of Congress have said they want to quickly impose sanctions against Iran in order to put more pressure on that country to agree to end its nuclear program. The White House has said it opposes these sanctions, since they could derail the ongoing talks, but even Senate Democrats have said they'd only hold off on a vote until late March.
Earlier this month, President Barack Obama said he would not extend talks past March, even if no technical agreement is reached by then.