In a rare interview with Israeli television, US Secretary of State John Kerry pledged Saturday that inspections to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons would stay in place “forever,” and accused critics of the emerging deal with Iran of “hysteria.”
Evidently seeking to placate the public in Israel, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been a bitter and relentless critic of the deal, Kerry pledged: “We will not sign a deal that does not close off Iran’s pathways to a bomb and that doesn’t give us the confidence — to all of our experts, in fact to global experts — that we will be able to know what Iran is doing and prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon.”
“I believe that where we are heading will in fact protect Israel,” Kerry told Israel’s Channel 10 news, in an interview at the State Department in Washington. “President Obama has absolutely pledged they will not get a nuclear weapon… We will have inspectors in there every single day. That is not a 10-year deal. That’s forever.”
In an apparent reference to Netanyahu — who has called the West “comatose” and “delusional” in its negotiations with the Iranians, and who has charged that the US-led negotiations will yield a deal “paving the way” to an Iranian nuclear arsenal — the secretary urged critics to look at the facts of the emerging accord.
“There’s a lot of hysteria about this deal,” Kerry claimed. “People really need to look at the facts, and they need to look at the science of what is behind those facts.”
The interview, which was excerpted Saturday night and will be broadcast in full on Sunday, came a day after The New York Times reported that the Obama Administration is also “scrambling” to assuage the fears of its Arab allies over the deal, and is considering a range of options to placate them, some of which could come at Israel’s expense.
According to The New York Times report, options under consideration include: a defense pact under which the US would commit “to the defense of Arab allies if they come under attack from outside forces”; joint training missions for American and Arab military forces; designating Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as “major non-NATO allies,” a step that would loosen restrictions on weapons sales and offer “a number of military advantages that are available only to NATO allies”; and approving the sale of its advanced F-35 stealth fighter to the UAE three years after it is delivered to Israel.
The sale of F-35s could undermine Israel’s hitherto sacrosanct military edge, the paper noted.
The Iran deal is supposed to be signed by June 30. Obama is reportedly refusing to meet with Netanyahu before then.