Kerry assures allies Iran deal will make region safer

Kerry assures allies Iran deal will make region safer
© Francis Rivera

U.S. Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryDeval Patrick's 2020 entry raises stakes in New Hamphire Growing 2020 field underscores Democratic divide The Memo: Democrats confront prospect of long primary MORE on Sunday sought to assure his Egyptian counterpart and other allies that the Iran nuclear deal would make the region safer.

"There can be absolutely no question that if the Vienna plan, fully implemented, it will make Egypt and all the countries of this region safer than they otherwise would be or were," Kerry said in Cairo at the beginning of a Middle East tour. 

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Kerry said he and the foreign minister discussed the deal and are "grateful" for Egypt's commitment to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and to the full implementation of the agreement.

Supporters of the deal argue that it will prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and start a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. 

However, critics of the deal argue that it instead paves the way for Iran to become a nuclear threshold state with an industrialized nuclear program and that Tehran could pursue a weapon after the deal expires. 

Opponents also argue that billions of dollars unfrozen by the deal would go to fund terrorism in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Yemen. 

Kerry acknowledged that Iran is engaged in destabilizing activities in the region, arguing "that is why it is so important to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program remains wholly peaceful." 

"It is also why I will leave this evening to consult with the Gulf Cooperation Council foreign ministers in Doha, where we will discuss ways to ensure the future security of the region," he said.  

Kerry also sought to patch up shaky relations with Egypt during his visit there, also meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who overthrew President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.  

More than 1,000 of Morsi's supporters were killed after they staged protests to Sisi's takeover, prompting the administration to freeze arms deliveries to Cairo. 

The U.S. resumed sending military aid in March and delivered a batch of F-16 fighter jets last week. 

"We have significantly increased military cooperation as seen from the delivery of the F-16s, other equipment and goods which are very essential in the fight against terrorism," said Kerry.