John Kerry’s Remarks On Nuclear Agreement With Iran

In Philadelphia today, Secretary of State John Kerry delivered a speech on the nuclear agreement with Iran.  In his remarks, the Secretary reminded us that “…two years ago, in September of 2013, we were facing an Iran that had already mastered the nuclear fuel cycle; already stockpiled enough enriched uranium that, if further enriched, could arm 10 to 12 bombs; an Iran that was already enriching uranium to the level of 20 percent, which is just below weapons-grade; an Iran that had already installed 10,000-plus centrifuges; and an Iran that was moving rapidly to commission a heavy water reactor able to produce enough weapons-grade plutonium for an additional bomb or two a year. That, my friends, is where we already were when we began our negotiations.”

Secretary Kerry outlined the facts about the agreement and addressed some of the false information that has been circulating about the proposal.  He explained how the agreement gives us the access that we need to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program remains wholly peaceful, while preserving every option to respond if Iran fails to meet its commitments.

“Iran’s nuclear program will remain subject to regular inspections forever. Iran will have to provide access to all of its nuclear facilities forever. Iran will have to respond promptly to requests for access to any suspicious site forever. And if Iran at any time — at any time — embarks on nuclear activities that are incompatible with a wholly peaceful program, it will be in violation of the agreement forever. We will know of that violation right away and we will retain every option we now have to respond, whether diplomatically or through a return to sanctions or by other means. In short, this agreement gives us unprecedented tools and all the time we need to hold Iran accountable for its choices and actions,” Secretary Kerry said.

The Secretary also addressed why the agreement will make the United States, Israel, the Gulf States, and the world safer. Secretary Kerry said, “…The reality is that if we trusted Iran or thought that it was about to become more moderate, this agreement would be less necessary than it is. But we don’t. We would like nothing more than to see Iran act differently, but not for a minute are we counting on it. Iran’s support for terrorist groups and its contributions to sectarian violence are not recent policies. They reflect the perceptions of its leaders about Iran’s long-term national interests and there are no grounds for expecting those calculations to change in the near future. That is why we believe so strongly that every problem in the Middle East — every threat to Israel and to our friends in the region — would be more dangerous if Iran were permitted to have a nuclear weapon. That is the inescapable bottom line.”

“…The adoption and implementation of this agreement will cement the support of the international community behind a plan to ensure that Iran does not ever acquire or possess a nuclear weapon. In doing so it will remove a looming threat from a uniquely fragile region, discourage others from trying to develop nuclear arms, make our citizens and our allies safer, and reassure the world that the hardest problems can be addressed successfully by diplomatic means.”

The Secretary concluded, “…The Iran nuclear agreement is a hugely positive step at a time when problem solving and danger reduction have rarely been so urgent, especially in the Middle East. The Iran agreement is not a panacea for the sectarian and extremist violence that has been ripping that region apart. But history may judge it a turning point, a moment when the builders of stability seized the initiative from the destroyers of hope, and when we were able to show, as have generations before us, that when we demand the best from ourselves and insist that others adhere to a similar high standard — when we do that, we have immense power to shape a safer and a more humane world. That’s what this is about and that’s what I hope we will do in the days ahead.”

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