Kerry mounts furious defence of Iran deal

2015-07-23 20:55
John Kerry (AP)

John Kerry (AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - US Secretary of State John Kerry mounted a furious counter-attack against critics of the Iran nuclear deal on Thursday, telling sceptical lawmakers that rejection of the accord would give Tehran "a great big green light" to swiftly accelerate its atomic programme.

Testifying before Congress for the first time since Iran and world powers reached the deal last week, Kerry fought back against accusations by a senior Republican that America's top diplomat was "fleeced" by Iranian negotiators in the final round of the Vienna talks.

He insisted that those who oppose the deal, which curbs Iran's nuclear programme in return for sanctions relief, are pushing an unrealistic alternative that he dismissed as a "sort of unicorn arrangement involving Iran's complete capitulation".

"The fact is that Iran now has extensive experience with nuclear fuel cycle technology," Kerry told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "We can't bomb that knowledge away. Nor can we sanction that knowledge away."

Kerry said that if Congress turns thumbs down on the deal, "the result will be the United States of America walking away from every one of the restrictions we have achieved".

"We will have squandered the best chance we have to solve this problem through peaceful means," he said as Congress began a 60-day review of the deal to decide whether to support or reject it.

Opening the hearing, the committee's Republican chair, Bob Corker, offered scathing criticism of Kerry for the terms he secured in negotiating the deal. "Not unlike a hotel guest that leaves only with a hotel bathrobe on his back, I believe that you've been fleeced," he said.

Corker chided Kerry and other administration officials for their line of argument that the only alternative to the Iran deal would be more war in the Middle East, saying that the real alternative would be a better deal.

US Senator Ben Cardin, the top Democrat on the committee, said he has not yet decided how he would vote but said he felt US negotiators had made significant progress.

"Our negotiators got an awful lot, particularly on the nuclear front," Cardin said.

Under a bill President Barack Obama signed into law in May, Congress has until September 17 to approve or reject the agreement. Republicans control majorities in both houses of Congress. Many have come out strongly against the pact, which they say will empower Iran and threaten US ally Israel.

Obama, who could gain a legacy boost from his diplomatic outreach to US foe Iran, needs to convince as many of his fellow Democrats as possible to back the deal.

If a disapproval resolution passes Congress and survives a veto, Obama would be unable to waive most of the US sanctions imposed on Iran, which could cripple the nuclear pact. 

Read more on:    us  |  iran  |  iran nuclear programme

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.