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Kerry TV Tour Touts Iran Nuke Deal

Source: VOA

U.S. Secretary of State John during Iran nuclear negotiations in Vienna in July 2015.
photo by Mostafa Ghotbi, Islamic Republic News Agency

In a series of high-profile television appearances Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry addressed the American public for the first time since signing off on an Iran nuclear deal last week.

Kerry said the agreement, which culminated from months of talks between the top diplomats of seven countries, likely won't restart diplomatic relations with Tehran.

A visit by the secretary to Iran is "not being contemplated," Kerry told ABC News’ program This Week.

"We don't have relations at this point," he added.

The accord followed several rounds of intense negotiations between Iran and six world powers to limit Tehran's atomic program to civilian use.

But some Republican politicians and presidential hopefuls have slammed the agreement and have promised to derail it in a possible congressional vote.

The State Department passed the text of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to Congress on Sunday. A 60-day review period will begin July 20. Lawmakers can vote to approve or reject the pact.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell predicted President Barack Obama will have a “real challenge” getting the pact through a skeptical, Republican-led Congress, and criticized it as “the best deal acceptable to Iran, rather than one that might actually end Iran’s nuclear program."

Obama promised to veto any congressional attempt to kill the initiative.

Iranian reaction

On Saturday, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei commented the deal does not signal cooperation with the U.S. and its allies on other issues, triggering a stern response from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

cartoon by Joep Bertrams, Dutch political cartoonist (source: The Cagle Post)

"If anyone thought that the sweeping concessions for Iran would bring about a change in its policy, they have received a decisive answer over the weekend..." Netanyahu said Sunday during a weekly cabinet meeting. "The Iranians don't even make an effort to hide the fact that they will use the hundreds of billions of dollars they will receive in this deal to arm their terror machine."

U.S. officials will be traveling to the Middle East in an attempt to alleviate concerns about deal, which cuts Iran's nuclear production in exchange for loosened economic sanctions on the country. Defense Secretary Ash Carter will visit Israel and Saudi Arabia this week, while Kerry will go to the Gulf region in August.

In an interview that aired Sunday, British Prime Minister David Cameron said he isn't idealistic about what the deal means for diplomatic relations with Iran.

"We shouldn't be naive or starry-eyed in any way about the regime that we are dealing with. I am certainly not," he told NBC's "Meet the Press."

"I spoke to [Iranian] President Rouhani yesterday and said we want to see a change in approach that Iran takes to issues like Syria and Yemen and to terrorism in the region and we want the change in behavior that should follow from that change. So we are not starry-eyed at all and I would reassure our Gulf allies about that, but actually taking the nuclear weapon issue of the table - that is a success."

Saudi concerns

Saudi Arabia on Friday sent its foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, to the White House where he received reassurances about the nuclear deal from President Obama.

At a regular briefing after the private meeting, White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Mr. Obama and the Saudi foreign minister talked about the Iranian nuclear agreement and how to boost security cooperation.

The spokesman did not give details of how the United States would increase military assistance, but said the discussions built on talks Mr. Obama held with senior officials from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council nations at Camp David in May, when the president said the United States is prepared to work jointly with GCC member states to deter and confront an external threat to any GCC state’s territorial integrity.

Next steps

The nuclear deal with Iran is expected to be approved early Monday by the U.N. Security Council in Vienna.

The first top Western official visit to Iran since the deal was reached, German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, arrived Sunday for a three-day trip with a "small delegation of representatives from companies, industry groups and the sciences," his ministry said in a statement.


... Payvand News - 07/19/15 ... --

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