(CNSNews.com) – Secretary of State John Kerry told Israelis in an interview broadcast Sunday that he could “absolutely guarantee” that under a proposed nuclear deal with Iran the U.S. will be able to monitor its activities, “so that we can still stop them if they decided to move to a bomb.”
“There’s a lot of hysteria about this deal,” he told Israel’s Channel 10 television. “People really need to look at the facts.”
“I say to every Israeli: Today we have the ability to stop them if they decided to move quickly to a bomb. And I absolutely guarantee that in the future we will have the ability to know what they’re doing, so that we can still stop them if they decided to move to a bomb.”
Kerry was defending a pending agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, due to be finalized between Tehran and the P5+1 group – the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany – by a June 30 deadline.
The “framework” of that deal, announced on April 2, has raised many concerns in the U.S., Israel and elsewhere in the region – not least of all because of significant differences between the U.S. and Iranian accounts of exactly what the framework entails.
Kerry challenged his interviewer’s suggestion that some Israelis were disappointed in the administration over its Iran policy.
“I can understand why they feel a set of questions and skepticism – that I understand – but I don’t think it’s appropriate to feel disappointment because we’re not going to disappoint Israel,” he said. “We will never disappoint Israel.”
Some elements of the framework agreement have limited timespans, with various restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activities falling away after 10 years in some cases, and 15 years in others.
Responding to questions about those expiration elements in the deal, Kerry stressed that other components last “forever.”
He was referring specifically to a purported Iranian commitment to implement the “additional protocol” of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), allowing International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors access to its nuclear facilities.
Beyond declared nuclear sites, the U.S. version of the framework agreement says that Iran has also agreed to allow IAEA inspectors to visit any site, “anywhere in the country,” where nuclear activity is suspected. Iran has called that pledge into question.
Kerry said the Iranians would be put “to an extraordinarily rigorous test as to whether or not they are changing their visibility, their accountability, so that we know what they are doing, so that, when they become an NPT country, full-fledged, we will still know that their program is peaceful.”
Kerry said the U.S. was not relinquishing a single option, including sanctions or a military response, under the proposed agreement.
“In fact, we gain on the visibility into Iran’s programs,” he said. “We will have inspectors in there every single day. That is not a 10-year deal, that’s forever.”
“There’s a lot of hysteria about this deal,” Kerry added. “People really need to look at the facts, and they need to look at the science of what is behind those facts.”
Kerry did not address the fact that supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and senior Iranian military figures are insisting that Iran will never allow foreign inspectors to visit military sites – despite the supposed pledge to give access to any site, “anywhere in the country.”
An outspoken critic of the agreement emerging from the P5+1 talks, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, underlined his concerns again on Sunday, telling visiting U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) that the aim of the negotiations must be to block Iran’s path to a nuclear capability, not “just to reach any deal.”
“I have to tell you as the prime minister of Israel, responsible for Israel’s security: It endangers Israel, it endangers the region, it endangers the world, the entire world in my opinion. So I think it’s very important to insist on a better deal.”