Kerry Calls Talk Of Better Iran Deal A ‘Fantasy’

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John KerryCountering Republican criticism, Secretary of State John Kerry declared Thursday it is “fantasy plain and simple” to claim that President Barack Obama failed to insist on enough restraints on Iran’s nuclear program before agreeing to lift economic sanctions long in place.

“So what’s your plan? … Totally go to war?” he challenged lawmakers who want to torpedo the deal.

Republicans were unpersuaded — and said so — at an occasionally contentious Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing that marked the opening of a new phase in the administration’s drive to prevent Congress from undermining the accord.

“You guys have been bamboozled,” said Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, complaining that the agreement wouldn’t permit neutral testing at Iran’s Parchin military complex to guard against cheating.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., the panel’s chairman, told Kerry moments after opening the hearing, “Not unlike a hotel guest that leaves only with a hotel bathrobe on his back, I believe you’ve been fleeced.” He later sought to soften the criticism to avoid singling anyone out, saying, “We’ve been fleeced.”

The deal, reached earlier this month, will take effect unless Congress blocks it. Republicans in control of the House and Senate hope to do that by passing legislation in September to prevent Obama from lifting sanctions that lawmakers put in place over several years.

Obama, who met at the White House during the day with a group of House Democrats, has promised to veto any such bill. That would lead to a vote to override his veto, and the administration is searching for 34 votes in the Senate or 146 in the House to assure a veto would stick.

Democrats and allied independents control 46 seats in the Senate, and so far Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Dianne Feinstein of California and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico have announced support for the plan. In the House, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi has expressed optimism that a veto can be upheld.

The hearing unfolded as House Speaker John Boehner hinted at additional steps to stop the deal beyond the legislation, which is expected to be voted on after lawmakers return from an August vacation. “I think there’s a lot of tools at our disposal,” he told reporters, although he did not elaborate.

Given the political calculus, the Senate hearing wasn’t so much an attempt by Kerry to persuade Republicans to support the plan as it was an opportunity to reassure Democrats.

Even so, no matter the objections — and Republicans leveled many in a hearing that stretched until midafternoon — Kerry, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew were ready with responses.

Kerry read supportive comments from former Israeli intelligence officials who hold views diametrically opposed to the ones held by Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu’s, arguably the pact’s fiercest opponent.

He also said he expects support for the deal from Saudi Arabia, Iran’s rival in the Middle East. Half a world away, by coincidence or not, Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said the agreement appears to have the provisions needed to curtail Iran’s ability to obtain a nuclear weapon. Saudi Arabia and Iran are fierce rivals, and al-Jubeir met separately with Kerry and Obama last week.

When Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, a Republican presidential hopeful, asked a question suggesting the deal would require the United States to support Iran if Israel launches a military strike, Moniz had a one word answer: “No.”

“It does not?” Rubio asked skeptically.

“No,” said Moniz.

With the exception of Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, Democrats questioned administration officials far more gently than the Republicans, suggesting they will side with Obama on a deal he has called historic.

At its heart, the agreement calls for the United States and other world powers to end economic and military sanctions in exchange for concessions from Iran in its nuclear program. Tehran says its program is entirely peaceful, but the U.S. and most other nations believe it is aimed at acquiring nuclear weapons. They imposed sanctions on Iran to bring it to the bargaining table.

Across more than four hours in the witness chair, Kerry sought repeatedly to blunt one of the Republicans’ core objections, that Obama settled for a less favorable deal than he could have gotten had he insisted on more.

“The alternative to the deal we’ve reached isn’t what we’re seeing ads for on TV,” he said, referring to commercials backed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which strongly opposes the deal.

“It isn’t a better deal, some sort of unicorn arrangement involving Iran’s complete capitulation. That’s a fantasy, plain and simple.”

Kerry also said that Obama has “made it crystal clear we will never accept a nuclear-armed Iran.” More than that, he said, “he is the only president who has developed a weapon capable of guaranteeing that. And he has not only developed it, he has deployed it.”

That appeared to be a reference to a “bunker buster” bomb, the Massive Ordnance Penetrator.

Kerry said that when the negotiations began, experts calculated that it would take Iran only two to three months to produce enough material for a bomb.

“If the deal is rejected, we return immediately to this reality, except that the diplomatic support we have been steadily accumulating in recent years would disappear overnight,” he said.

(AP)


7 COMMENTS

  1. And I say Mr. Kerry, that to suggest that Iran is going to keep a word of the deal is naive, insane, foolish and childish.
    You’ve got to be a fool to have believed these career anti American, anti-Israel liars. They sold you the Brooklyn Bridge! And you sold Israel down the river!
    Shame on you!

  2. I am no fan of John Kerry or his boss Barak Hussain “Chamberlain” Obama but I am quite sure it is 100% correct that it is “fantasy plain and simple” to suggest a better deal could have been obtained with the 21st century Hitlers in Iran. They have stamina and guts, both qualities sorely missing from you and Hussain.

    However there was another option other than war. That was, but I suspect no longer is, to ramp up sanctions unbearably. Kept in place for another few years, Iran would have been the nation doing the begging not our great United States of America. However under our present proprietor N Obama Esq, we have been reduced to the world’s pariah state.

    Now Mr “Neville” Kerry, the only option after your Chamberlain performance, will be to go to war. The questions are only who will start the war and when. But that is an option you and our proprietor forced upon the world. Still not to worry, the lifting of sanctions will create hundreds of thousands of jobs as the US arms suppliers trip over each other in their rush to re-arm Iran, making great profits along the way.

  3. The only fantasy I see here is you and your idiot boss. No, not a fantasy, more like a horror movie.
    You two dummies just wrote your legacy, at least for now. By the time this all unwinds you and your boss will most likely be out of a job. Then when your horror movie starts killing people, most likely jews, it won’t matter to you. You would have written and sold your books. Then you can blame the whole thing on Bush like you have done in the past.
    Wake up dummy, you and Obummer just put a larger gun in Iran’s hands. With any luck you two will be the first victims.

  4. I think if anyone is living in fantasy land it’s dodo Kerry. Y is he so interested I a deal. What has been gained by this deal that can be proven as a real gain. They have no way to enforce anything.

  5. Baloney Secretary Kerry!!!
    Sure, Obama is the only president under whose watch the bunker buster was developed.
    HOWEVER!!!
    Obama is also the only president who is least likely to make use of it no matter what the circumstances are.
    More Likely,
    If Iran violates the so-called deal (and are probably violating it NOW at some secret location), Obama will find some excuse to postpone (look at his record) and pass the call down to the next president.

    Face it, Obama is no Harry Truman, who had to make the tough decision to drop the A-bomb on Hiroshima.
    Worse yet, waiting for the next president to make the decision will definitely be too late.

  6. Diplomacy is plan A of course to avoid war. But not at all costs. Will the cost of a future war with a nuclear armed maybe with ballistic missiles that can reach the US be a much more costlier war??? Remember the Chamberlin-Hitler pact that led to World War 2???? In the pact with Hitler they actually agreed to have Peaceful intentions! Here Iran is still free to have official Death To America rallies annually and arm terror groups that fight and endanger Americas allies in the Middle East!