The White House is now denying that there was a side deal to the Iran agreement, just a day after National Security Adviser Susan Rice acknowledged that there was an agreement between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency that falls outside the main Iran nuclear agreement.
The issue could be a matter of semantics because the White House is insisting that the accord between the IAEA and Iran is integral to the overall deal.
"This does not represent some sort of side deal," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Thursday. "Prior to Iran getting any kind of sanctions relief, they have to provide the IAEA the kind of information they need."
"This is a critical part of the agreement … this deal cannot go forward until this information is provided by the IAEA," he said.
Regardless of whether the IAEA deal with Iran is a "side deal" or not, it's not something that the Obama administration seems able to provide to Congress. Secretary of State John Kerry told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Thursday morning that he didn't have the document laying out the details of the IAEA agreement between the agency and the Tehran.
Kerry said that's why he cannot give it to Congress. But, he said the White House has promised to provide Congress a full classified briefing on that part of the deal.
Earnest tried to downplay the idea that the White House doesn't have the agreement, by saying the White House at least understands it. "There's a difference between having a copy of the document and knowing exactly what's in it," Earnest said.
Key Republicans and Democrats in Congress have taken issue with the lack of documentation on the agreement between the IAEA and Iran and argue that the administration is unlawfully withholding the papers.
Sen. Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, along with ranking member Ben Cardin, D-Md., have written Kerry seeking the documents and have met with Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to discuss them.