The U.S. on Tuesday blamed a "typo" for a controversial statement on Iran’s nuclear program published by the White House, a conclusion that would have had major implications for the Iran nuclear deal.
In a written statement sent to reporters late Monday by White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, the White House said that newly unveiled information gathered by Israeli intelligence proved that Iran “has a robust, clandestine nuclear weapons program”.
The statement was later changed on the White House’s website to clarify that Iran ‘had’ a robust nuclear weapons program, without acknowledging the error.
"We think the biggest mistake that was made was under the Obama administration by ever entering the deal in the first place," Sanders told reporters at a press briefing.
"The typo that you referenced was noticed, immediately corrected. And we are focused on moving forward on the safety and security of our country," said Sanders in response to a reporter’s question.
The declaration flew in the face of American intelligence determinations which found that Tehran had frozen its program following the Obama-era agreement to lift sanctions in exchange for curtailing its nuclear ambitions.
Describing Iran as a ‘dishonest actor’ in the nuclear agreement, Sanders said “Iran lied on the front end” and the deal was made on a completely false pretense.
She also claimed that Iran's nuclear capability was “far more advanced and far further along than they have ever indicated” and if the nuclear deal is maintained as it is right now, “when the sunset provision hits in seven years, they will be much further along in the process and be able to make a nuclear weapon much quicker than they’ve ever indicated before”.
"And that is a big problem," Sanders added.
In a statement Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that Israeli intelligence services had obtained 55,000 pages of Iranian documents revealing how Tehran allegedly lied to the world after signing the landmark deal in 2015 to curb its nuclear program.
President Donald Trump is expected to announce his decision May 12 on whether the U.S. will pull out of the deal.
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