Beltway Confidential

John Kerry says Iran can have a 'peaceful' nuclear program, maybe even enrichment

|
Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke,John Kerry,Iran,Terrorism,Hassan Rouhani,Nuclear Weapons

Iran can have a "peaceful" nuclear program, Secretary of State John Kerry said today as he argued against Congress imposing more sanctions on the rogue regime.

"It has to be a peaceful program," Kerry told the House Foreign Affairs Committee. "It isn't hard to know if a program is peaceful if it is."

That program may include enrichment if it's mutually agreed-upon, Kerry said, provided that Iran comes into compliance with International Atomic Energy Agency standards and the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

"If they came into compliance, what is it that says that they couldn't be able to do it?" Kerry asked. "That's their question to us."

But committee leaders were skeptical of Kerry's assurances. House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., said Iran should never be allowed to enrich nuclear fuel. "It simply can't be trusted with enrichment."

The committee's leading Democrat, Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, noted that six United Nations resolutions barred Iran from enriching nuclear fuel.

"[T]he least they could do is stop enriching while we're negotiating with them," Engel said.

"They know we're serious," Kerry replied.

Though Kerry insisted — again — that the interim deal would verifiably halt the progress of Iran's nuclear program and roll back areas most concerning to the international community, recent statements by Iranian leaders have called that into question.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, for example, described the deal as a victory for Iran on Monday. “Big powers have admitted that they are unable to stop Iran's peaceful nuclear progress,” Rouhani said, according to state-run Press TV. "They have no ability to stop Iran's industrial progress and counter enrichment in the country as this industry has been developed indigenously."

View article comments Leave a comment