Kerry to Congress: ‘Calm down’ on Iran

Greg Nash

Secretary of State John Kerry said he will urge Congress to “calm down” over new Iran sanctions when he briefs the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday. [WATCH VIDEO]

Kerry said that the United States should give Iran “a few weeks” to see if the negotiations can lead to a deal between Iran and the six world powers.

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“What we’re asking everybody to do is calm down, look hard at what can be achieved and what the realities are,” Kerry said.

“If sanctions were to be increased, there are members of that coalition who have put it in place who would think we’re dealing in bad faith, and they would bolt,” he said.

Before entering the closed-door briefing, Kerry told reporters that the deal that fell through over the weekend was only a first step in the talks with Iran. He said that the U.S. had pursued a “tough” proposal and would be able to ramp sanctions back up should Iran not follow through on its nuclear commitments.

Kerry issued a statement before the briefing began without taking questions.

“If this doesn’t work we reserve the right to dial back up the sanctions,” Kerry said. “I will be back up here on the Hill asking for increased sanctions, and we always reserve the military option. So we lose absolutely nothing except for the possibility of getting in the way of diplomacy.”

The Senate Banking Committee is weighing whether to move forward with new sanctions legislation that it had delayed before the round of negotiations last week that failed to reach a deal. Senate Banking Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) has said he wants to wait until the briefing with Kerry before making any decisions.