Kerry: Israel 'safer' after interim Iran deal

Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday that an interim nuclear deal with Iran has strengthened Israel’s national security.

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“Israel is safer today because of the interim agreement we created,” Kerry said on ABC’s “This Week.” “It is to guarantee that we will know that Iran cannot develop a nuclear weapon under the procedure that we’re putting in place.”

Kerry’s comments come amid grave concerns in Israel over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE landed in Washington, D.C., on Sunday and will address the issue before a joint session of Congress on Tuesday.

“My responsibility is to worry not only about the state of Israel, but also the future of the Jewish people,” Netanyahu said on Saturday. “And for that reason, we are strongly opposed to the agreement being formulated between the world powers and Iran that could endanger Israel’s very existence.”

Kerry cited several details of the interim deal as evidence of a less dangerous Iran, including the halting of nuclear production methods and recurring inspections in Iran.

“We have stopped the centrifuge production,” he said of Iran’s nuclear materials production. “The 20-percent enriched uranium has been reduced to 0.”

The secretary of State also highlighted defense mechanisms the U.S. had helped Israel acquire. Devices like the Iron Dome missile defense system, he said, could also deter any potential nuclear weapons from Iran.

“President Obama has done more to ensure the security of Israel by the creation of the Iron Dome, by the development of weapons that are specifically calculated to be able to deal with Iran’s nuclear weapon problem,” Kerry said. “And the president has pledged that they will not get a nuclear weapon.”

Wendy Sherman, the Obama administration’s lead negotiator in the Iran nuclear talks, said last week the world would judge any agreement as a “good thing.”

The U.S. is currently working with the other P5+1 nations — Great Britain, China, France and Russia, plus Germany — to close a deal with Iran.

Both sides must reach a tentative agreement by March 1 and final deal by July 1 under self-imposed deadlines.