U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry stated on Tuesday that if Congress rejects the Iran deal that would mean that Tehran would be able to develop a nuclear weapon.
Just a couple of days after his Senate Committee hearing and testimony, John Kerry made stronger comments to blast the criticism from Republicans that say that the nuclear deal would allow Iran to construct a nuclear weapon. He said that the provisions of the agreement were only temporary and that it would have greater long-term importance.
According to Reuters, Kerry spoke in front of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and said “Iran has agreed to refrain from producing or acquiring highly enriched uranium and weapons-grade plutonium for nuclear weapons forever. When it comes to verification and monitoring, there is absolutely no sunset in this agreement. Not in 10 years, not in 15 years, not in 20 years, not in 25 years – no sunset ever.”
The hearing was immensely intense with Republican representatives complaining about the deal and attacking Kerry and the Obama administration, the same way Republican Senators attacked Kerry at the Senate hearing saying that he was “bamboozled” and “fleeced”. According to Reuters, Kerry stated that even though Republicans are against the deal, all they do is complain. He said “What this agreement is supposed to do is stop them from having a nuclear weapon. No I want to hear somebody tell me how they’re going to do that without this agreement.” He also added that if the United States walks away from the agreement hat would mean isolation, because the deal was agreed by all global powers. He said “If we walk away, we walk away alone. Our partners are not going to be with us.”
Congress is set to vote on the deal after a five week recess in September and if rejected, President Barack Obama has vowed to put a veto. In order to override the Presidential veto, the Republican Party would need some of Obama’s fellow Democrats.
However, many Democrats have issued statements that they are in full support of the deal and there are some who are still evaluating the agreement. According to Reuters, Kerry said “If you kill the deal, you are not making America safer.” He has been joined by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz in order to persuade legislators to allow the deal. According to Reuters, Lew said that if America backs out of the agreement, other countries that signed the agreement would not keep the sanctions against Iran. The deal lifts economic sanctions on Iran and returns billions in assets. Lew said “You could end up with Iran getting access to that money without the benefit of an agreement, which would be a very bad outcome.”
The deal has also been under attack by the Israeli government, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying that the deal would have severe consequences on Israel’s security and a new war would start if Tehran develops nuclear weapons. He has close relations with Republicans; however Jewish representatives seem to be in support of the deal, particularly Sander Levin who explicitly backs the deal. Other representatives such as Engel and Sherman are under pressure and have stated that Iran supports militant groups like Hamas, Houthi and Hezbollah and are having second thoughts.
The deal with Iran was agreed with the United States, the European Union, Germany, France, China and Russia and prevents Iran from using its nuclear program to architect an atomic bomb, in exchange for sanction relief.