john kerry

Kerry: There is a lot of hysteria over Iran deal

In interview with Channel 10 to be broadcast on Sunday, the U.S. secretary of state discussed the nuclear deal to be signed on June 30.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says that there is “a lot of hysteria” in the criticism of the framework deal reached with Iran over its nuclear program. Kerry added that he believes that the agreement that will be signed on June 30 will protect Israel.

The interview was conducted on Thursday, and parts of it were broadcast on Saturday night. The full interview will be broadcast on Sunday evening. Mostly it dealt with the negotiations between Iran and six world powers, but also with the criticism in relations between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama. Kerry also discussed the situation in Syria and Lebanon and future U.S. policy on the Palestinian issue.

Kerry said in the interview that he understands the feelings in Israel toward the nuclear deal, and the questions and doubts it raises. Still, he rejected the claim that the U.S. has let Israel down, He said talk of “disappointment” was inappropriate, and that Washington would not let Israel down.

Kerry added that, under the deal, there would be inspectors in Iran on a daily basis. This would be not only for ten years, but forever, Kerry said. “There is a lot of hysteria with this deal. People need to look at the facts,” he added, saying that people need to carefully consider the facts before judging the deal.

Kerry added that the U.S. will not sign a deal that won’t stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, and that won’t provide the security of knowing what Iran is doing and preventing Tehran from gaining a nuclear weapon.

When negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program started, breakout time for obtaining fissile material for one bomb was between two and three months, Kerry told Channel 10. Under the nuclear deal, breakout time would increase to a year for the first ten-year period of the deal, he added.

Kerry went on to defend the framework deal with Iran, and said that part of the understandings between the two sides will reduce the stock of enriched uranium in Iran’s hands by 98 percent – from 12 tons to 300 kilos for a period of ten years. According to Kerry, the inspections of Iran’s nuclear program will continue forever.

Countries that sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty have the right for nuclear energy for non-military purposes, he added. The secretary of state said that Washington would put Iran to a very strict test over whether they give access to nuclear inspectors so that world powers know what they are up to.

Kerry said that he would tell every Israeli that today the U.S. and other world powers have the ability to stop Tehran if they try to move faster toward a bomb. The U.S. is not giving up on any options open at the moment, Kerry added, saying that sanctions and military action are still possibilities.

This article was written by Barak Ravid for Haaretz on May 2, 2015. Barak Ravid is the diplomatic correspondent for Haaretz newspaper. He joined Haaretz in April 2007, covering the Prime Minister’s Office, the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Defense, dealing with issues such as U.S.-Israeli relations, EU-Israeli relations and the peace process.