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Kerry: People Have 'Right to Be Skeptical'

Image: Kerry: People Have 'Right to Be Skeptical'

By Sandy Fitzgerald and Amy Woods   |   Sunday, 24 Nov 2013 09:39 AM

Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday that people have a right to be skeptical about the Iranian nuclear deal announced earlier in Geneva.

"I think everybody has a right to be skeptical, because there are indications that there are people in Iran who have wanted to pursue a weapons program. There have been secret facilities building some of those efforts towards that program and so there's lots of reason. That's why we don't take anything at face value," Kerry said, appearing on CBS' "Face the Nation."

Kerry said that any treaty requires verification after goes into effect

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"We did arms control agreements with [our one-time] great enemy, the Soviet Union. We've done arms control agreements in other parts of the world. You don't trust, it's not based on trust. It's based on verification," Kerry said. "So you don't have to trust the people you're dealing with. You have to have a mechanism put in place where by you know exactly what you're getting and you know exactly what they're doing. And we believe we're at the beginning of putting that in place with Iran."

Appearing on ABC's "This Week," Kerry said of the deal: "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."

He said the treaty calls for Iran to destroy 20 percent of its uranium, freeze 3.5 percent of its uranium stock and stop installing centrifuges. Dismantling the country's centrifuges is the next step, he said.

When asked by host George Stephanopoulos why the accord doesn't call for the immediate dismantling of centrifuges, Kerry answered, "You cannot sit there and pretend that you're just going to get the thing you want while they continue to move towards the program that they've been chasing."

"While we go through these next six months, we will be negotiating the dismantling, we will be negotiating the limitations, but you can't always start where you want to wind up," Kerry said.

The United States agreed to end economic sanctions on Iran and, in turn, Iran agreed to dial back its nuclear program and will be subject to daily inspections to verify the country is not enriching its uranium supply.

"We both want to make it certain Iran cannot have a nuclear weapon and Iran cannot be in a place where they could break out and suddenly get that nuclear weapon," Kerry said of the goal the United States shares with Israel.

"This is a hard road, and we will stand by Israel 100 percent, and I believe we will show that this particular approach has the ability to be able to garner greater, broader international support for whether or not Iran is, in fact, following through on its commitments or not," Kerry said.

On CNN's "State of the Union, Kerry sought on Sunday to offer assurances to Israel over the nuclear deal with Iran, saying that the agreement would make the Jewish state safer over the next six months.

"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.

"I believe that Israel in fact will be safer, providing we make sure that these ... sanctions don't get lifted in a way that reduces the pressure on Iran - and we don't believe they will be, there's very little sanctions relief here - that the basic architecture of the sanctions stays in place," Kerry said.

Following the deal struck Sunday, Kerry said sought to head off criticism by the Jewish state of a thaw with Tehran.

He also said that if Iran's nuclear program is truly just for peaceful purposes, then it simply needs to "prove it" to the world.

"The comprehensive agreement will make the world safer ... and Israel safer," Kerry told reporters.

Calling the deal a "first step," Kerry said the deal "does not say that Iran has the right of enrichment, no matter what interpretative comments are made."

He spoke shortly after Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had said the deal sealed Sunday with world powers contained a "clear reference that enrichment will continue."

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Kerry also said that while President Barack Obama would not take off the table the possible use of force against Iran, he believed it was necessary first to exhaust diplomacy.

This article is based on reports from Reuters and AFP.


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