Today, Secretary of State John Kerry testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs about the Iran Deal. This long-term comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran took 18 months of very intensive talks to be reached, and it will verifiably prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and ensure that Iran's nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful going forward.
“We are convinced that the plan that we have developed with five other nations accomplishes the task that President Obama set out, which is to close off the four pathways to a bomb,” Secretary Kerry emphasized at the beginning of his testimony.
Joined by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Secretary Kerry then focused on explaining why it is crucial to move ahead the deal. He said, “In the real world we have two options: Either we move ahead with this agreement to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program is limited, rigorously scrutinized, and wholly peaceful; or we have no agreement at all, no inspections, no restraints, no sanctions, no knowledge of what they’re doing, and they start to enrich.”
“Now to be clear, if Congress rejects what was agreed to in Vienna, you will not only be rejecting every one of the restrictions that we put in place… You’ll not only be giving Iran a free pass to double the pace of its uranium enrichment, to build a heavy water reactor, to install new and more efficient centrifuges, but they will do it all without the unprecedented inspection and transparency measures that we have secured. Everything that we have tried to prevent will now happen,” Secretary Kerry continued.
He explained that the point of putting sanctions in place was to bring Iran to the negotiating table. Even the toughest sanctions previously did not stop Iran’s program from growing, and it didn’t stop Iran from accumulating a stockpile of enriched uranium.
“I’ve heard critics suggest that the Vienna agreement would somehow legitimize Iran’s nuclear program. That is nonsense. Under the agreement, Iran’s leaders are permanently barred from pursuing a nuclear weapon and there are permanent restraints and access provisions and inspection provisions to guarantee that. And I underscore: If they try to evade that obligation, we will know it because a civil nuclear program requires full access 24/7, requires full documentation, and we will have the ability to track that as no other program before,” Secretary Kerry said.
“So this agreement -- and I’ll close by saying this agreement gives us a far stronger detection capability, more time to respond to any attempt to break out toward a bomb, and much more international support in stopping it than we would have without the deal. If we walk away from this deal and then we decide to use military force, we’re not going to have the United Nations or the other five nations that negotiated with us because they will feel we walked away. And make no mistake: President Obama is committed to staying with a policy of stopping this bomb.”
In conclusion, Secretary Kerry said, “The outcome here is critical. We believe this deal makes our country and our allies safer; it will guarantee that Iran’s program is under intense scrutiny; it will ensure that the world community is unified in backing this up; and in the end it will guarantee Iran’s program has to be peaceful and therefore is a good deal for the world, a good deal for America, a good deal for our allies and our friends, and we believe it richly deserves your support.”
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