Kerry: Iran deal not about trust

Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday that the historic nuclear agreement with Iran is not about trust, casting the deal as the first step in a long process.

Kerry, speaking to CNN’s “State of the Union” from Geneva, even cited former President Reagan’s famous statement about the Soviet Union, stressing the United States would "trust but verify."

“None of this is based on trust. It’s not a question of trust,” Kerry said.

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“Verification is the key. And President Obama and I have said since the beginning, we’re not just going to verify, or trust and verify. We’re going to verify and verify and verify.”

Under the deal, announced late Saturday night in the U.S., Iran receives limited relief from sanctions. In exchange, Iran agreed to cap its nuclear stockpile, limit for six months its enrichment of uranium and allow more stringent inspections from outside agencies.

Kerry on Sunday acknowledged that Israel had serious concerns about the deal, which the U.S struck with Russia, China and other world leaders.

But Kerry insisted that a deal that impedes Iran’s ability to enrich uranium was good for Israel, and also brushed aside comparisons between this deal and one with North Korea. North Korea has essentially gone around a deal it struck with the U.S., one of the concerns cited by skeptics of the Iran agreement.

“We’ve seen activities around the world sponsored by Iran on occasion that violate the norms of international standards and behaviors,” Kerry said, after noting Iran’s ties to Hezbollah and its activities in Syria. “There are lots of things, regrettably, that we still have to work on.”

The hope, Kerry said, is that Iranian leaders “want to build this different relationship, want to show, in clear ways as we go forward, that the program is peaceful.”