White House Insists 'No Illusions' on Iran Deal

John Kerry Says Plenty of Diplomacy Ahead

getty images

By Reuters

Published November 24, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The Obama administration insisted on strong safeguards in a nuclear deal with Iran and has no illusions about the risks that the Islamic state might not follow through on its obligations, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday.

Kerry sought to reassure skeptics in the U.S. Congress who worry that the six-month agreement gives Iran too much leeway and that it might end up using it as a stalling tactic.

Kerry told CNN that U.S. officials entered into the deal with their eyes “absolutely wide open.”

“We have no illusions. We don’t do this on the basis of somebody’s statements to you. We do it on the basis on actions that can be verified,” he said.

The deal reached by Iran and six world powers, including the United States, gives Iran some initial relief from sanctions in exchange for halting its most sensitive nuclear work, the high-grade enrichment of uranium.

The deal does not require Iran to stop all enrichment but does demand a halt to refinement above a purity of 5 percent. Refined uranium also provides the fissile core of an atomic bomb if refined to a high degree.

Influential U.S. Senator Bob Corker, speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” pledged to hold the Obama administration’s “feet to the fire” to ensure that Tehran is not given excessive leeway.

Corker, the senior Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that the pact allowing Iran to continue to enrich uranium must not “become the norm” for a longer-term agreement.

“I think you are going to see on Capitol Hill, again, a bipartisan effort to try to make sure that this is not a final agreement,” he said.

Senator Ben Cardin, a Democrat from Maryland, agreed: “We will not stand by (and) just let this be the final deal.” Cardin also appeared on Fox.

Speaking on the ABC program “This Week,” Republican Saxby Chambliss, vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said Congress may allow the administration to see how the deal works over the next six months.

But he added that in the future, there could be “a strong movement in the United States Senate to move ahead to tighten sanctions” on Iran.

On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Kerry also sought to provide reassurances to Israel, which views the nuclear deal as misguided.

“Israel is threatened by what has been going on in Iran,” Kerry told CNN.

“But I believe that from this day - for the next six months - Israel is in fact safer than it was yesterday because we now have a mechanism by which we are going to expand the amount of time in which they (the Iranians) can break out (toward making a nuclear bomb). We are going to have insights to their program that we didn’t have before,” he added.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.