Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz were interviewed over the week-end on CBS’s Face the Nation that was aired on Sunday and both defended the historic nuclear agreement reached last week with Iran that Congress has 60 days to debate and vote on.
Kerry said that the negotiated deal with Iran isn’t based on trust and is instead based on performance that is verified.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a host of Republicans have criticized making a deal with Iran based on the premise of mistrust after accusing Tehran of sponsoring terrorism and avoiding nuclear inspections in the past, leading to sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy.
“You have to negotiate sometimes with people to make the world and your country safer” Kerry said.
“And we negotiated because President Obama thought the primary challenge here was getting a nuclear weapon away from Iran. And we believe this deal does that” Kerry added.
Energy Secretary Moniz responded to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s complaint about the 24 day waiting period for Iran’s inspections in the event that the intelligence community detects Iran is cheating with their nuclear weapons program and is operating a covert facility at another location.
“Now, 24 days we feel very confident in the capability of IAEA with environmental sampling to detect any nuclear activity very, very long after it has occurred” Moniz said.
Moniz later said that “our experts are convinced, experts are convinced that we will know what they are doing and we will be able to protect our security interests and the interests of the region.”
Secretary Kerry explained that under the nuclear deal, inspectors have 24-7 access to nuclear sites at Fordow and Natanz but said that the “anywhere, anytime” inspection timeframe was never on the negotiating table.
“There’s no such thing in arms control as anytime, anywhere. There isn’t any nation in the world, none, that has an anytime, anywhere” Kerry said.
Secretary Kerry spoke about the arms embargo with Iran after U.S. lawmakers have recently expressed concerns that a loosening of the arms embargo would embolden Iran’s ability to support its regional Shia allies in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and other Palestinian areas.
“Under the arms embargo, arms control, there will be a limit of five years, and under the missile, in eight years, and the reason that we’re able to limit them to the five and eight, which is quite extraordinary that we go that, was that three of the nations negotiating thought that they shouldn’t have any and were ready to hold out to do that” Kerry said on Face the Nation.
Kerry explained “we have the missile control technology regime and other missile restraints on them.”
“We also have other U.N. resolutions that prevent them from moving arms to the Houthi, prevents them from moving arms to the Shia, prevents them from—to the Shia military in Iraq, prevents them from moving arms to Hezbollah” Kerry said.
Senator Diane Feinstein tweeted today about the Iran deal: “If Israel were to be attacked, this would be a major war on our part.”