Kerry on Israeli TV: Criticism of Iran deal laced with ‘hysteria’


JERUSALEM (JTA) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Israeli television called criticism of the framework agreement with Iran “hysteria.”

“That is not a 10-year deal, that’s forever,” he said in an interview with Israel’s Channel 10. “There have to be inspections. There’s a lot of hysteria about this deal. People really need to look at the facts, look at the science of what is behind those facts.”

Excerpts of the interview were broadcast on Saturday night, with the full interview airing on Sunday night. The interview appeared designed to reach directly to the Israeli public to talk about the proposed agreement with Iran and how it would affect Israel.

“We ask people to measure carefully what the agreement is and wait until we have an agreement to make all these judgments,” he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is strongly opposed to the emerging deal, which is set to be signed on June 30. Among his objections are his concerns that aspects of the regimen lapse after 10-15 years; the lifting of sanctions concurrent with Iranian steps to roll back its program, as opposed to after the program is rolled back; and the amount of uranium enrichment Iran will be permitted to continue.

“We think that the goal of the Iran deal should not be just to reach any deal,” Netanyahu said after meeting Sunday with Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who is among the GOP lawmakers opposing the deal. “It should be to block Iran’s path to the bomb. And to block Iran’s path to the bomb, we need a deal that prevents Iran from having what is given to it in Lausanne.”

Netanyahu appeared to aim his comments directly at Kerry and other Obama administration officials.

“So we think we need a different deal, a better deal and there are those who tell us that this will not endanger Israel,” Netanyahu said. “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.”

Kerry asserted in his interview that the United States has Israel’s back in the agreement and in the future. He said the U.S. would not allow Iran to have the power to create a nuclear weapon and would protect Israel’s security.

“We will never disappoint Israel,” Kerry said.

“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 could still stop them if they decided to move to a bomb.”

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