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POLITICS: PennAve

Secretary of State John Kerry: 'We are not blind' on Iran

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NBC,John Kerry,Iran,PennAve,Secretary of State,Zack Colman

Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday defended the Obama administration's approach to nuclear negotiations with Iran, saying that it would not rush into a half-measure interim deal.

"No deal is better than a bad deal, and we are certainly adhering to that concept," Kerry said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Kerry and foreign ministers from the United Kingdom, France, China, Russia and Germany left Geneva without securing a deal to freeze Iran's nuclear program, efforts which drew criticism from some GOP lawmakers.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the Obama administration needs to secure a firmer deal than it's seeking.

Speaking on "Meet the Press," Corker likened the prospects of an interim deal to the situation with North Korea, and urged the administration not to engage in that sort of "dance" with Iran.

"People are really looking at what the next steps ought to be," Corker said, adding that lawmakers are "also concerned about an administration that seems really ready, always, to jump into the arms of other folks."

Corker stopped short of saying Congress would push for new sanctions, despite his GOP colleague Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., saying lawmakers would do just that. Instead, Corker said he would push Kerry for a stronger line in negotiations.

"I think this week, sitting down talking with Secretary Kerry will be an important element of what we do," Corker said.

Kerry said the United States must demonstrate some "good faith" in the negotiations to get something out of Iran. He added that, "We are not blind, and I don't think we're stupid" about giving away too much.

Kerry said that the administration would not change the "core architecture" of sanctions on Iran's banking and oil sectors, which he and Congress have said helped bring Iran to the table.

"One thing is clear, is that we're not going into a full deal and giving away something. We're talking about stopping their program where it is ... while we then negotiate the full measure of the deal with our allies, with our friends," Kerry said.

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Zack Colman

Staff Writer
The Washington Examiner