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Iran criticizes US for saying nuke deal helps Washington in case it needs to attack Tehran

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VIENNA — A senior Iranian official is accusing the U.S. of violating the nuclear deal with his country through comments indicating that the accord would make any attack on Tehran's atomic program more efficient because it would result in greater insight about potential targets.

The July 14 deal foresees increased overview of Iran's nuclear activities by the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency. Reza Najafi, the IAEA's chief Iranian delegate, quoted White House spokesman Josh Earnest as saying that would result in enhanced U.S. or Israeli military action against Iran — if needed — "because we'd been spending the intervening number of years gathering significantly more detail about Iran's nuclear program."

Israel is a harsh critic of the deal and says it is keeping all options open to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons. The Obama administration says the agreement has accomplished its goal of preventing Tehran from getting such arms.

Still, as part of White House pushback against congressional and other critics of the deal, Earnest, in his comments to reporters July 17 said that the U.S. "military option would remain on the table" if Iran breaks out of the deal and races to make a bomb.

Najafi, in a July 24 letter posted to the IAEA website on Wednesday, called Earnest's statement "outrageous." He said it "seriously undermines the very basic principles" needed to implement the deal, adding that the comments amount to "a material breach of the commitments" agreed to by the United States and the five other world powers at the negotiating table with Iran.

Citing Earnest, Najafi also suggested that Washington could try to violate provisions of the nuclear deal committing the agency during its Iran monitoring to "protect commercial, technological and industrial secrets as well as other confidential information coming to its knowledge."

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