Three White House secretaries led by US Secretary of State John Kerry have attended a second congressional hearing to seek support for the nuclear deal with Iran.
Kerry argued against assertions that Iran could develop an atomic bomb once sanctions are lifted, and said “if we walk away [from the deal], we walk away alone. Our partners are not going to be with us. Instead, they will walk away from the tough multilateral sanctions that brought Iran to the table to begin with. Instead, we will have squandered the best chance we have to solve the problem through peaceful means.”
A total of 535 members of the House of Representatives and one hundred senators will vote on the Iran nuclear deal in September.
— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) July 23, 2015
Countering Kerry’s arguments, Representative Ed Royce stressed Iran’s history with international deals and said "Iran has cheated on every agreement they've signed."
“So I ask, Mr. Secretary, has Iran earned the right to be trusted?” Royce asked Kerry when he spoke with Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on the details of Vienna deal.
Kerry answered that development of nuclear weapons by Iran has been “permanently banned,” and that the United States will guarantee peace after the deal.
Kerry told Congress that “nothing in this deal is built on trust,” in attempts to allay concerns over the possibility of Iran reneging on the agreement.
Another voice of opposition, Representative Scott Perry, criticised Kerry’s support for the Iran nuclear deal and accused Kerry of not representing the United States but the interests of the United Nations.
In response Kerry said “congressman, I don't need any lessons from you about who I represent. I've represented and fought for our country since I was out of college. Don't give me any lessons about that, OK? Now, let me just make it crystal clear to you. This is in America's interest, because America is the principal guarantor of security in the region and particularly with respect to some of our closest friends."
The nuclear deal with Iran which took two years to negotiate between the country and six world powers - the US, the UK, Russia, China, Germany and France - must first be examined by Congress in a 60-day assessment period before it can be passed.
Congress does not have to ratify the deal, but has the power to block it with a resolution of disapproval within the review period.
Obama said he would veto any legislation that would impose new sanctions on Iran or prevent him from suspending existing ones. If things came to that, overriding the president’s veto would require the approval of two-thirds of both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The deal between Iran and the six world powers is aimed at monitoring Iran's most sensitive nuclear work for over 12 years in exchange for immediate relief for the country from the economic sanctions which have long crippled its economy.