Kerry trying to 'slightly oversell' in enrichment remarks, expert says

Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass on Monday said Secretary of State John Kerry was trying to “slightly oversell” in his comments about Iran not having the right to enrich uranium in new agreement.

“What he was doing was parsing words in a way that I think is trying to slightly oversell…what is still a significant accomplishment, but there’s no reason to oversell it,” Haass said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe."

"There is no inherent right to enrich," Kerry said Sunday on ABC's "This Week."

“And everywhere in this particular agreement, it states that they could only do that by mutual agreement, and nothing is agreed on until everything is agreed on," Kerry added

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“There’s no words in it that says, ‘You have the explicit right to enrich uranium,’” Haass said. “They’ve certainly got the continued ability to enrich uranium,” he added, but at the lowest levels. 

The U.S., along with six of its allies, reached a deal with Iran in Geneva Sunday that would freeze Iran's nuclear program for the next six months. 

Tony Blinken, the White House national deputy security adviser, said Kerry was right in what he said.

“We have been very clear. They do not have a right to enrich. They will not have a right to enrich,” Blinken said later on “Morning Joe” Monday. “The question is at the end of the day whether there can be a comprehensive solution…a very limited, very carefully monitored nuclear program for peaceful purposes in Iran that involves some indigenous enrichment.”

Blinken emphasized the oil, banking and financial sanctions against Iran will continue under the interim agreement. There’s “urgency,” he said, in trying to stop Iran’s program in its tracks.

“This doesn’t solve the problem once and for all,” Haass warned.

“A lot of the big issues are admittedly kicked down the road for this negotiation that’s about to begin. In the narrow sense, this agreement leaves us better off than we were.”