National Security

Earnest: Remember, We Can See Iran Increase Its Nuclear Stockpile Thanks to Our Monitoring Measures

White House spokesman Josh Earnest looks on the bright side.

Pressed Tuesday by ABC's Jonathan Karl about New York Times report that Iran had increased its nuclear fuel stockpile 20 percent over the last 18 months of negotiations, Earnest reminded reporters the monitoring measures put in place were what allowed the U.S. to see Iran's brazen behavior in broad daylight.

"But you don't dispute their finding that they have a 20 percent increase in uranium fuel over what they had at the start of these negotiations?" Karl asked.

"Uh, no," Earnest said.

"You're not concerned about that, you don't see this as a sign of Iran cheating or not complying?" Karl asked.

"In fact, the IAEA doesn't see it that way either," Earnest said. "I think first it's important for us to note that the reason that we can verify the precise size of Iran's nuclear uranium stockpile is because we do have these monitoring measures in place, and because of that monitoring we can verify their compliance with the agreement."

Earnest said the IAEA "never says" in that report that Iran is failing to comply with the Joint Plan of Action. The New York Times report noted in its lead graf that this news undercut the Obama administration's claim to have "halted" Iran's nuclear program during the bargaining period.

[H/T Omri Ceren]