Kerry: No Iran deal is the 'real fear'

Kerry: No Iran deal is the 'real fear'
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Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryLet's not play Charlie Brown to Iran's Lucy The Memo: Democrats struggle to find the strongest swing-state candidate 2020 caucuses pose biggest challenge yet for Iowa's top pollster MORE said on Sunday that the possibility of not finalizing an agreement over Iran’s nuclear arms research should scare the entire world.

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Kerry added that the lack of a peaceful resolution to preventing Iran’s nuclear ambitions could lead to a more dangerous Middle East.

“The fact is the real fear of that region should be if we don’t have the deal,” Kerry told host Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“If Congress doesn’t pass this, we have no sanctions,” he said.

“They will then feel free to go and do the very thing this prevents,” Kerry added of the deal.

The Obama administration announced its landmark pact with Iran over its atomic energy capabilities last week.

Kerry argued on Sunday that agreement has multiple options for curbing Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

“We have a lot of measures,” he said. “The United States always has the ability to act unilaterally.”

The secretary of State additionally charged that he rejects the notion that the deal will increase international instability.

“We disagree with them very, very much,” he said of critics of the deal who argue it threatens world peace.

Kerry led U.S. efforts with Iran during 20 months of tense negotiations for a lasting accord.

The final agreement reduces economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for tougher restrictions on its nuclear energy program.

Tehran has tentatively agreed to more frequent atomic inspections and caps on its centrifuges and uranium stockpiles as part of the bargain.

Congress is now within a 60-day window of reviewing and voting on the deal’s details.

Kerry admitted in a separate appearance on CBS's "Face the Nation" that the deal does not improve Iran's often strained relationship with U.S.

"I mean, they’re still, we're still adversaries," he told host John Dickerson.

"We're not allies and friends, by any means," Kerry said. "So there are no illusions about that."

"What we know, however, is that an Iran without a nuclear weapon is a very different country than Iran with one," he added.

"And that a Middle East without a nuclear weapon is a safer Middle East."

Kerry added on CBS that the accord's groundbreaking restrictions on Iran's nuclear research methods will win over skeptics.

"This deal will stand ultimately on the fact that there's unprecedented inspection, unprecedented access, unprecedented restraint in their program, which they've agreed to," he said.

The secretary of State also said on ABC's "This Week" that the deal additionally tests whether Iran can become a more cooperative member of the international community.

"We're prepared to test whether or not they're prepared to change their relationship in the region," Kerry told Jonathan Karl.

"I think it would be diplomatic malpractice if we didn't keep our doors open to possibilities," he added.

Kerry then said that U.S. lawmakers opposing the deal should remember that America's foreign partners are not bound by Congress’s assessment of the pact's details.

"It's presumptuous of some people to assume that France, Russia, China, Germany, Britain ought to do what the Congress tells them to do," he said.

--This report was updated at 12:27 p.m.