Secretary of State John Kerry struggled on Tuesday to explain how a recently inked nuclear accord with Iran will benefit the United States during a testy exchange with lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
When questioned about Iran’s continued commitment to killing Americans and Israelis, Kerry was unable to explain how the nuclear accord would moderate the regime’s behavior.
"You must understand Americans see Iran as a crocodile or shark that does what it does," Rep. Scott Perry (R., Pa.) said to Kerry during a hearing about the deal. "We're saying, we're going to give the crocodile or the shark a few more teeth and let's see if it does something different."
When pressed to explain how the deal could moderate, rather than empower Iran’s extremist behavior, Kerry responded, "I don't want a speech-off."
The deal could have been strengthened if Congress was given a say in the negotiations, Perry maintained, pointing to instances in which Congress had approved tough international treaties.
"If the ayatollah doesn't like it and doesn't want to negotiate it, oh, boo-hoo. we're here for America," Perry told Kerry. "We stand for America. You represent America. With that having been said, you know, it's—in another interview, if you don't get a majority in Congress, doesn't that undermine the deal?"
"I don't need any lessons from you about who I represent," Kerry shot back. "I've represented and fought for our country since I was out of college."
Kerry went on to defend the deal.
"Don't give me any lessons. Let me make it crystal clear to you. This is America’s interest. Because America is the principal guarantor of security in the region," Kerry said. "Particularly, with respect to some of our closest friends, we believe Iran was marching towards a weapon or the capacity to have a weapon and we've rolled that back."