Kerry: Iran nuclear deal demonstrates ‘power of diplomacy’

January 6, 2017

TEHRAN – Outgoing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has launched a strong defense of the Iran nuclear deal, hailing it as a signature achievement of the Obama administration.

The Iran nuclear deal “is a demonstration, quite simply, of the power of diplomacy to be able to address major international problems short of war,” Kerry told a press conference on Thursday at Washington, DC.

Under the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran agreed with six world powers to limit its nuclear program and stockpiles of enriched uranium in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.

Earlier on Thursday, the White House had issued an Exit Memo on the progress made over the past eight years, citing the nuclear deal as one instance of America leading the world “to meet a set of global challenges.”

Outgoing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the Iran nuclear deal is a demonstration of the power of diplomacy to be able to address major international problems short of war.

Kerry’s comments at his last press conference as U.S. secretary of state came two weeks before Donald Trump’s inauguration as president.

Unlike the agreement being touted by the outgoing Obama’s administration as a legacy foreign policy achievement, Trump raised in his stump speeches the prospect of unwinding or re-negotiating the deal.

In a speech to the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC in March, Trump announced that his “number-one priority” would be to “dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran.”

Elsewhere he had called the accord “the worst deal ever negotiated.”

It, however, remains to be seen how Trump would act after being sworn in.

In his remarks, Kerry implicitly advised the incoming administration against putting in jeopardy the deal.

“And to be clear – to be crystal clear – terminating that agreement now would leave us with those same bad choices.”

On Jan. 2, dozens of American top scientists, including Richard L. Garwin, a physicist who helped design the world’s first hydrogen bomb, wrote to Trump to urge him not to dismantle the deal.
 
Singlehandedly, Washington cannot afford the political cost of pulling out of the deal, people familiar with the issue say. It needs the buy-in from the other signatories.
 
In a New Year message appearing on her website, EU foreign policy chief Feredrica  Mogherini renewed backing for the deal and vowed determination to preserve the historic nuclear deal.

Tehran has preemptively shown teeth following the approval of the Iran Sanctions Act by the U.S. Congress, which renews anti-Iran sanctions for another 10 years.

Having received a letter from Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Dec. 16, Mogherini announced a meeting on Jan. 10 to “review the implementation of the agreement and discuss the issues raised in the letter.”
 
AK/PA

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