The United States has just signed a nuclear deal with Iraq, something that was instantly criticized by former Vice-President Dick Chaney. When Roland Martin talks to Secretary of State John Kerry about the logic behind Chaney’s opposition to the deal, Kerry doesn’t mince words.
Why opposition to the deal doesn’t make sense:
“It’s not logic,” says Kerry. “That’s why you don’t understand it. Dick Cheney is the guy, that you recall, told America that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and they didn’t. I don’t think he’s the best oracle here on what can or can’t happen with respect to this agreement. Nothing in this agreement is based on trust. This agreement is based on verification,” Kerry said.
What the agreement consists of:
“It’s an agreement whereby Iran has to roll back its current program very significantly, where they have to live by the reality of the new requirements of the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is responsible for inspections and accountability. They have a new protocol, a new set of requirements for countries. Under that, Iran will have to submit to any inspection we require if have a suspicion that any facility is being used illegally or to create a weapon.
We have huge ability to hold Iran accountable here. And if you vote ‘No’ on this agreement the same people are not going to come back to the table and give up more. They’re just not going to do that. And the other countries that negotiated with us and supported us, will simply not trust us in the process. So a ‘No’ vote takes you, if you had no agreement takes you to no inspections, no agreement and no sanctions and Iran would really be able to do what it wants in the Middle East.”
Other countries signed off on the agreement, not just the U.S.:
What many people don’t realize is that the agreement was not just between the U.S. and Iran, Kerry says. In fact, the deal was a joint effort between several nations.
“This was China, Russia, Germany, France, England – five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council – all helped to negotiate this agreement. We’re in a place where over 100 nations have supported this agreement. Out of all the nations that have taken a formal position, only one nation opposes it. We believe that Israel will be safer, we believe this is the best way from Israel seeing a nuclear weapon in the hands of the Iranians and we believe that the United States haven’t given up one option that we have today in the process.”
The deal does not take the ‘military option’ off the table:
Critics of the deal say that the U.S. has given up its open to ‘go in there militarily’ but Kerry says that’s not the case.
“When you say go in there militarily, first of all, we’ve been fighting too many wars in which a lot of people in America end up paying the price. We’re still suffering the consequences of the war we fought in Iraq and the war we fought in Afghanistan which we’re still fighting where a lot of people lost their lives or were grievously wounded in the process.
And I think we need to think very carefully before we’re in position where we’re creating conflict or putting young people in harm’s way. Beyond that, the military option has not been taken off the table, the President will never take it off the table, but he knows, as our military knows that only delays Iran’s military program for two or three years and then you have to do it again or you wind up in a greater conflict. I think that most people believe let’s first put to test whether this agreement will work. For the next 15 years, Iran is going to be so limited, it would be physically impossible for them to build something. If they try to do something, we will know and we still have the military option available.”
But how does the deal impact everyday Americans?
As for why you should care, Kerry says if you live in these United States, the impact of the deal does touch you.
“If it was necessary to send young folks to fight for our security as a result of Iran doing something that was in violation of the agreement, you know who pays an inordinate price for that. It costs us trillions of dollars. It’s a very expensive proposition. We’ve already seen the cost of that in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere. It affects every American, because people in that region are threatening the United States of America. A nuclear weapon in the hands of Iran would threaten our country.
It is important that we not allow any nation to increase the number of nuclear weapons on this planet – there are already too many. The United States and Russia have been moving in the opposite direction trying to reduce the number of nuclear weapons and there are many, many people who would like us to reduce altogether. Iran having nuclear weapons is moving in the wrong direction with respect to the security interests of our country, and certainly the security interests of our friends in that region – Israel, the Arab states, the Gulf states, all of the countries in that region would be affected by Iraq having a nuclear weapon and that would impact us.”
Click the link above to hear the entire interview.