U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian President Hassan Rowhani both counter-attacked on Thursday conservatives at home who were trying to block last week’s nuclear deal.
In Washington, Kerry told skeptical lawmakers that rejection of the accord would give Tehran “a great big green light” to accelerate its atomic program.
Rowhani, elected two years ago on a promise to reduce the international isolation of the country of nearly 80 million people, defended the agreement following criticism from the Revolutionary Guards and conservative lawmakers that it endangers Iran’s security.
In an unlikely common cause, the U.S. and Iranian governments need to sell the agreement to domestic doubters if it is ever to achieve both sides’ respective aims - curbing Tehran’s nuclear program in return for an easing of sanctions which have badly hurt the Iranian economy.
Testifying to Congress, Kerry fought back against accusations by a senior Republican that he had been “fleeced” by Iranian negotiators in the final round of the Vienna talks.
He warned of the consequences of rejecting the deal between Tehran and world powers including the United States.
“We will have squandered the best chance we have to solve this problem through peaceful means,” he told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“The fact is that Iran now has extensive experience with nuclear fuel cycle technology,” he said as Congress began a 60-day review of the deal to decide whether to support or reject it. “We can’t bomb that knowledge away. Nor can we sanction that knowledge away.”
Opening the hearing, the committee’s Republican chairman, Bob Corker, attacked Kerry over the terms he secured in Vienna. “I believe that you’ve been fleeced," said Corker.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew also said the agreement would not prevent the United States from imposing additional sanctions on Iran over issues such as human rights violations - a Congressional concern - if it felt this was necessary.
Despite the rough ride in the Republican-controlled Congress, President Barack Obama says he will veto any attempt to block the agreement. Overriding such a veto would require a two-thirds majority in both houses, which means dozens of Obama’s fellow Democrats would have to reject a signature achievement of their president to kill the deal, seen as an unlikely prospect.
Opposition is similarly stiff in Iran, even though many people there hope the accord will deliver prosperity by bringing an end to the sanctions and the country’s economic isolation.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, a conservative cleric whose authority supersedes that of the elected president Rowhani, has yet to deliver a final verdict on the deal.
Conservative members of parliament and Revolutionary Guards commanders say the deal has breached conditions set by Khamenei, and want changes.
نستخدم ملفات الكوكيز لنسهل عليك استخدام مواقعنا الإلكترونية ونكيف المحتوى والإعلانات وفقا لمتطلباتك واحتياجاتك الخاصة، لتوفير ميزات وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية ولتحليل حركة المرور لدينا...اعرف أكثر