Kerry to nuke deal critics: It’s ‘based on verification’

Secretary of State John Kerry took on critics who question if there are too many loopholes for Iran to “cheat,” under the conditions of the historic nuclear deal he helped broker, in a series of appearances on Sunday morning talk shows.

“The entire agreement is based on verification, accountability and steps we can take to respond to any violation by Iran,” Kerry told “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd. “We have ample other resolutions that allow us to hold them accountable for moving any weapons,” he added during a separate appearance on ABC’s “This Week.”

The nuclear deal is set to become international law Monday when the United Nations meets to discuss a resolution on endorsing it. This takes place ahead of Congresses 60-day review period, where they will either approve or reject the deal.

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Some members of Congress have openly condemned the pact, and many question Iran’s ability to remain trustworthy. The deal, negotiated by the P5+1 group – a council of six world countries under the U.N. Council – allows Iran to delay their nuclear inspection for up to 24 days, but the original promise was “anytime, anywhere.”

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, who appeared alongside Kerry, said Sunday: “It was anytime, anywhere in the sense of a well-defined process that would have a well-defined conclusion in time. Three weeks for a process of the type is reasonable. Most important, we are very confident in our ability to protect the vestiges of any nuclear work beyond 24 days.” 

The deal has received mixed reviews from world leaders, and some the United States’ closest allies remain uneasy about it.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told NBC’s Lester Holt last week that the 24-day notice is like giving a drug dealer “time to flush a lot of meth down the toilet.”

Moniz responded by saying “there have been many analogies to throwing things down the toilet, et cetera. This is not so simple with nuclear material. We have plenty of evidence of exquisite environmental sampling that will reveal the traces if nuclear.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron said during a “Meet the Press” appearance on Sunday that although there was not really a better option, he warned “we shouldn’t be naïve or starry eyed in anyway about the regime that we are dealing with.”

“I think it is so much better than the alternative. I think that if there wasn’t a deal, I think we would face Iran with a nuclear weapon,” Cameron said on Sunday. “That would’ve given a terrible choice to the West of either enabling that — allowing that to happen — or a very difficult decision to take military action.”

Kerry says if Iran will suspend its enrichment and come to negotiation, all the sanctions will be lifted, based on inspections conducted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the organization responsible for monitoring and enforcing the terms of the deal.

“Now they’ve done more than just come to negotiations, they’ve actually negotiated a deal. And three of the seven nations thought they should not, therefore, be held to any kind of restraint. We prevailed and insisted, no, they have to be,” Kerry said. 

Benjamin Netanyahu, David Cameron, Iran, John Kerry and Nuclear Policy

Kerry to nuke deal critics: It's 'based on verification'