Sunday Show Round Up

Kerry defends deal with Iran that eases sanctions

John Kerry on ABC's 'This Week'
• November 24, 2013 2:11 pm


Secretary of State John Kerry took to the airwaves to defend the Iran-P5+1 diplomatic deal that was reached in Geneva early Sunday morning.

"This negotiation is not the art of fantasy or the art of the ideal, it's the art of the possible, which is verifiable and clear in its capacity to be able to make Israel and the region safer," Kerry said on ABC’s "This Week."

"The fact is that Iran's ability to break out will expand under this program. Therefore, Israel will be safer, the region will be safer, Iran's 20 percent uranium will be destroyed, therefore they are safer. Iran's 3.5 percent uranium stock will be frozen at its current level and the centrifuges will not be able to be installed in places that could otherwise be installed and advance the program."

Despite Kerry’s assurances, many lawmakers and foreign leaders have already expressed frustration and concern at the deal.

A key issue for critics, such as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), concerns the dismantling of centrifuges. Last night Graham tweeted, "Unless the agreement requires dismantling of the Iranian centrifuges, we really haven't gained anything."

Rep. Mike Rogers (R., Mich.) echoed that worry this morning during an appearance on CNN’s "State of the Union," arguing, that Iran had been given "a permission slip to continue enrichment."

"That's the one thing the whole world was trying to stop them from doing. … We made this mistake in Pakistan. We made this mistake in North Korea. History is a great judge here and a great teacher, why would you make the same mistake to a nation that will proliferate a nuclear arms race in the Middle East if they are successful at getting a nuclear weapon," Rogers said.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) was also critical.

"This agreeement is a blow to our allies in the region who are already concerned about America's commitment to their security and it sends the wrong message to the Iranian people, who continue to suffer under the repressive rule of their leaders who have only their own self-preservation in mind," Rubio said in a statement.

The deal, which is a six-month agreement, reportedly "freezes or reverses progress at all of Iran’s major nuclear facilities … halts the installation of new centrifuges used to enrich uranium and caps the amount and type of enriched uranium that Iran is allowed to produce." Additionally, it eases sanctions by around $7 billion over the next six months.

When pressed on "This Week" that the deal would not dismantle the centrifuges Iran has now, Kerry said, "no, it's not. That's correct. That's the next step."

Senators Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) and Ben Cardin (D., Md.) said on "Fox News Sunday" that a more permanent deal would need to be stronger.

Host Chris Wallace brought up the concern of some that the "interim deal becomes the final deal, and it leaves Iran just a few months short of it’s breakout ability to dash and create a nuclear weapon."

"That would not be acceptable to the Congress nor the American people and I hope the international community," Cardin said.

"The agreement by it’s terms indicates that progress must be made in the next six-months to have a more permanent elimination of Iran’s capacity to produce a nuclear weapon … we will not stand by and just let this be the final deal."

Last week, a group of senators, including Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.), Robert Menendez (D., N.J.), Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), and John McCain (R., Ariz.), wrote to Kerry encouraging caution with any deal. The letter emphasized that no deal should alleviate economic sanctions without requiring that Iran significantly "roll back its nuclear program."

Schumer released a written statement this morning saying that he was disappointed with the deal. Schumer noted that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle would likely "join together and pass additional sanctions" in December because of the "disproportionality of this agreement."

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D., Md.) told "Face the Nation" that while this is a "marginal improvement," the Senate should be "moving forward" with legislation to increase sanctions, legislation that passed the House in July.

Hoyer contended it should not be implemented for six months, "assuming the Iranians do in fact what they say they’re going to do."

"I agree with the Minority Whip that we should move forward with the sanctions in the Senate," said House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.), "

"Remember who we’re dealing with," McCarthy continued. "We’re dealing with Iran. They are one of the top supporters of terrorism around the world. This is providing them resources and money … we have to have a full dismantling if we want the world to be safer."

Iran has said any new sanctions imposed by Congress would terminate the deal.

Published under: Iran, John Kerry, Lindsey Graham