Middle East/North Africa

Kerry: US not going to ‘rush’ into Iran deal

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Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday the U.S. was in no hurry to come to an agreement that halts the Iranian nuclear program, arguing that “no deal is better than a bad deal.”

“We all have said, President Obama has been crystal clear — don’t rush,” Kerry said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “We’re not in a rush. We need to get the right deal. No deal is better than a bad deal and we are certainly adhering to that concept.”

{mosads}Negotiators were in Geneva last week discussing a potential agreement with Iran whereby the country would temporarily halt its nuclear program in exchange for the easing of economic sanctions. Those negotiations fell through on Saturday when France said a proposed deal didn’t sufficiently curb Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

Kerry said at the time that the talks were fruitful because the countries were able to “narrow the differences” between themselves. On Sunday, he argued that current economic sanctions against Iran had forced them to the negotiating table.

“The president believes, as I do, that the pressure exists today, which is why they’re willing to negotiate,” Kerry said. “Now that they’re there, you have to act in some good faith, and an effort to be able to move towards the goal you want to achieve.”

Kerry said the goal was for the U.S. to obtain “unprecedented access” for inspections of Iran’s nuclear program.

But Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Sunday that lifting sanctions sends the wrong message to our allies in the region.

“The Israelis are apoplectic about what we’re doing,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I’ve never been more worried about the Obama administration’s approach to the Middle East than I am now.”

Graham said the sanctions should be kept in place, and coupled with the threat of military force if Iran didn’t stop enriching uranium and open its doors to prove to the world that it only seeks nuclear power for peaceful purposes.

“If it ends with anything less, the world will regret this,” Graham said. “My fear is that we’re going to end up creating a North Korea kind of situation in the Middle East.”

Graham said the proposal Kerry was discussing in Geneva would essentially waive existing sanctions against Iran. 

Tags Iran John Kerry Lindsey Graham nuclear program
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