Kerry: ‘Iran Deserves the Benefits Of the Agreement They Struck,’ Not Surprised By Their Provocations

Secretary of State John Kerry stated that “Iran deserves the benefits of the agreement they struck” on the Iranian nuclear deal, and that he’s not surprised by Iran’s recent provocative behavior on Tuesday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Kerry was asked, “Do you have faith and confidence that they will stick to the key terms of this deal for the next 20 years?” He responded, “I have faith and confidence that we will know exactly what they’re doing during that period of time. And if they decide to try to cheat, we will know it, and there are plenty of options available to us. That I have complete faith and confidence in.”

He further stated, “Iran needs to make some clear decisions about the role it intends to play in the region, and in the world. If you have a nuclear agreement, and you’ve gone to these great lengths, Joe, why not stop, or try at least, to be part of a peace process, with respect to Yemen? Why not help more to try to end the conflict in Syria? And it’s the lack of that effort, and, frankly, the weapons that have been intercepted in the recent months, we just had an interception last week by the United States Navy. The Australian Navy had an interception the month before that and the month before that. That is, by everybody’s standard, unacceptable behavior. And what it’s going to do, is create an uncertainty in business judgments about whether or not it’s going to be safe to invest. So, Iran is complaining to us, hey, we’re not getting all the benefits we saw. Well, the simple answer is, behave differently.”

When asked if he believed Iran would behave differently Kerry responded, “I’m not, you know, in the prognostication about what their behavior is going to be. I’m in the business of trying to make certain that we can deal with whatever it is.”

In response to a question on whether he was “surprised” about Iran’s provocations, Kerry stated, “Joe, no, I’m not, and I’ll tell you why. There is a — everybody has seen this fight play out publicly. I think Rafsanjani recently made public comments about how there was a need to engage in dialogue and not in missile manufacturing process. And he was rebuked, publicly, by the supreme leader, who said, no it’s missiles, not dialogue. So, there’s a fight there. And there is still an unsettled election process, that goes on through this month. So, I honestly think that what you’re seeing is part of the tension. There were people in Iran who opposed the Iran agreement with the same ferocity that there were people here who opposed it, and they still do.”

Kerry was also questioned on whether Iran deserved to have the US working to help Iran get more investment. He said, “They have in terms of the nuclear agreement, absolutely. Iran deserves the benefits of the agreement they struck. And President Obama has said it. I’ve said it. Secretary Lew has said it. And we’ve in fact tried to work to make sure that the banks that are supposed to be doing legitimate business, with respect to the transactions that are okay, after the agreement, that they’re operating. So we — you know, it’s fair for Iran to get what it deserves, because it kept its part of the bargain to date with respect to the nuclear agreement.”

When asked if Iran should change its behavior regarding the spirit of the agreement before the US starts helping it financially, Kerry answered, “Joe, we’re under an obligation to see — if we said we would lift a sanction, we’re under an obligation to lift the sanction, and to make sure that, in fact, people are performing the way they are supposed to. Now, that’s different from proactively responding in other ways. And I agree with you. We just had a meeting of Russia, China, France, Germany, the United States, Britain, at the table, at the nuclear summit. And one of the points of discussion was, everybody should be encouraging Iran not to continue its missile activities, not to continue to ship arms, because that will upset and roil the marketplace.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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