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Kerry Seeks Support in US for Iran Nuclear Deal

Secretary of State John Kerry says a nuclear deal with Iran will make the world safer and will improve the lives of the Iranian people. He also said the agreement would open other opportunities between the U.S. and Iran. He spoke to VOA on Tuesday.

Secretary of State Kerry has been meeting with members of Congress to build support for the agreement. He said he hopes its supporters will persuade people that it will keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and avoid conflict in the area.

“Some people just oppose the idea of doing a deal with Iran. But I think when people really look at what is gained here, when they see that this is a possibility of actually doing away with a potential of a nuclear weapon and of perhaps opening up the possibilities of other good things happening, of a new relationship.”

Lawmakers have 60 days to study the deal. They can approve the terms or reject them and refuse to end sanctions, which the U.S. Congress placed on Iran. President Obama has said he would veto any rejection measure.

Even with approval of the deal, Mr. Kerry added it would be another “six months or so” before any effects of lifting sanctions against Iran are felt. The Congressional study period lasts until the middle of September. And Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency have to answer question about the Iranian nuclear program by late December.

On the Iranian side, the document has been sent to the Iranian Majlis or parliament. However on Saturday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei said the nuclear deal does not signal cooperation with the U.S. on other issues. He said Iran would never accept what he called “the enemy’s excessive demands.”

Mr. Kerry called the statement “pretty negative and pretty dramatic.” However, he said he remains an optimist about global affairs.

Some critics of the nuclear talks say the U.S. should have included the issues of human rights and democratic reforms. Secretary Kerry said the state of the Iranian nuclear program had to be the priority.

But he said the U.S. “will never stop believing in democracy and in people’s rights.” He also promised the government will never stop raising the issue of Americans being held.

On Monday, the United Nations Security Council approved the nuclear agreement with Iran unanimously. The terms of the deal call for the International Atomic Energy Agency to observe and verify whether Iran is fulfilling the requirements of the agreement. White House spokesman Josh Earnest says the U.N.-approved deal has a “snap back” measure. If Iran is to violate the agreement, the measure calls for a return to sanctions

After several months of negotiation, the U.S., Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany reached the deal with Iran last week. However, Secretary Kerry noted that there are many crises around the world. And the diplomats cannot pay attention on one without doing anything about the others.

“You can’t ignore what’s happening in Syria, you can’t ignore what’s happening in Iraq, or what’s happening in Yemen, or what’s happening in Egypt or in the Sinai,” he said.

I’m Mario Ritter.

Chris Hannas and Victor Beattie reported this story from Washington. Mario Ritter adapted it for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.


Words in This Story

potential n. something able to become real; the possibility of

priority n. something of first importance; the most important thing

unanimously adv. without dissent or opposition; all are in agreement

verify v. to prove that something is true or real

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