Moniz Confident Accord Will Go Forward

Moniz Confident  Accord Will Go ForwardMoniz Confident  Accord Will Go Forward

US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said Friday the Iranian nuclear deal will go forward, and he disagreed with President Barack Obama's view that Democratic lawmakers are getting "squishy" on the accord.

"Squishy? I wouldn't use that term," Moniz told reporters at the White House. "I remain confident that this agreement will go into effect."

He added, "Unless there are too many closed minds," the Washington Times reported.

In a conference call Thursday night, Obama urged grassroots supporters to pressure Congress to approve the Iran deal, saying Democratic lawmakers were getting "squishy" under a $20 million lobbying effort by opponents of the agreement.

As part of his push to sell the deal to Congress and the public, Obama will give a speech about the agreement on Wednesday at American University in Washington. Congress has begun a 60-day review of the accord, with most Republicans saying they will vote against it because they believe it will not curb Iran's nuclear work in the long run.

Moniz, who has been meeting with lawmakers regularly to explain the provisions of the agreement, said he is "very frankly pleased at how many members are digging into the documents, both the public and confidential documents that we have supplied."

He reiterated his view that there is no "secret" deal between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency, which will conduct inspections of Iranian nuclear sites to enforce compliance. Administration officials acknowledge there is an agreement between the IAEA and Iran on inspections, and that the US does not have a copy of it, but they say it is standard practice for such monitoring.

"There is no secret side deal," Moniz said.