Kerry on Iran deal: 'It's not based on trust'

Dylan Stableford, Yahoo News
Yahoo News
In this picture released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks in a meeting with Iranian ambassadors in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. Khamenei on Wednesday dismissed the value of direct talks with the U.S., his first comments touching on meetings that officials from the Islamic Republic had with Americans dating back to secret talks that began in 2012. (AP Photo/Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader)
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In this picture released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks in a meeting with Iranian ambassadors in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. Khamenei on Wednesday dismissed the value of direct talks with the U.S., his first comments touching on meetings that officials from the Islamic Republic had with Americans dating back to secret talks that began in 2012. (AP Photo/Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader)

Hours after Iran reached a deal with the United States and five other nations to temporarily freeze its nuclear program, Secretary of State John Kerry said there were many factors to consider in their historic agreement — but "trust" was not one of them.

"There’s nothing built on trust," Kerry said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "We’re not sitting here pretending that Iran is going to suddenly turn over a new leaf. We have to prove it. And our structure in this agreement, I believe, will adequately prove it.

"They will have to destroy the higher-enriched uranium they have, which is critical to being able to build a bomb," Kerry said. "Once they’ve destroyed that, they only have a lower-enriched uranium. They are not allowed under this agreement to build additional enrichment facilities. We will have restrictions on the centrifuges, which are critical for enrichment."

"We have no illusions," Kerry told Candy Crowley on CNN's "State of the Union." "You don’t do this on the basis of somebody’s statements to you. You do it on the basis of actions that can be verified. ... We are convinced that over the next few months, we will really be able to put to the test what Iran’s intentions are."

He compared Sunday's deal with Iran to past U.S. agreements with Russia.

"We did arms control agreements with the great enemy, the Soviet Union. We’ve done arms control agreements in other parts of the world you don’t trust," he said. "It’s not based on trust. It’s based on verification. It’s based on your ability to know what is happening. So you don’t have to trust the people you’re dealing with; you have to have a mechanism put in place whereby you know exactly what you’re getting and you know exactly what they’re doing. And we believe we are at the beginning of putting that in place with Iran.

"It’s not a question of trust," Kerry continued. "It’s a question of having the verification and the intrusive inspections and the insights into the program and the commitments that can be held accountable so that you are, in fact, creating a fail-safe mechanism by which you are making your judgments. None of this — when you’re dealing with nuclear weapons, it’s not an issue of trust. As the old saying goes of Gorbachev and Reagan, 'Trust but verify.' Verification is the key. And President Obama and I have said since the beginning, we’re not just going to verify or trust and verify, we’re going to verify and verify and verify. We have to know to a certainty so that Israel, Gulf states, ourselves, nobody can be deceived by what is taking place."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the deal, calling it a "historic mistake." Kerry addressed Israel's concerns.

"Israel is threatened by what has been going on in Iran, but I believe that from this day, for the next six months, Israel is, in fact, safer than it was yesterday," Kerry said on CNN. "We are going to have insights to their program that we didn’t have before. We’re going to have a destruction of the 20 percent enrichment. We’re going to have a limitation on the low enrichment at 3.5 percent. We’re going to have a limitation on the building and installation of centrifuges. I mean, Israel, if you didn’t have these things [we] would be seeing Iran continue on a daily basis to narrow the breakout time."

On ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos," Kerry said the allies are on the same page.

"Israel and the United States absolutely share the same goal here," Kerry said. "There is no daylight between us with respect to what we want to achieve at this point.  We both want to make it certain Iran cannot have a nuclear weapon and Iran cannot be in a place where they can break out and suddenly get that nuclear weapon.

"This negotiation is not the art of fantasy or the art of the ideal," he said. "It's the art of the possible, which is verifiable and clear in its capacity to be able to make Israel and the region safer."

Kerry, though, admitted he has yet to see evidence of Iran dismantling its nuclear facilities.

"You can’t get everything in the first step," Kerry said on CBS. "You have to go down the process here. The fact is that what we’ve done is lock components of their program in place and actually roll some of them backwards. ... And we believe it now opens the door to our going into the larger, more comprehensive arrangement by which Iran will have to prove that its program is really peaceful."

The secretary also admitted there is much other diplomatic work to be done in Iran.

"Hezbollah is a terrorist organization, fundamentally a client of Iran," he said. "Hezbollah is in Syria. Iran is engaged in Syria. These are issues of deep concern to all of us. In addition to that, we’ve seen activities around the world sponsored by Iran on occasion that violate the norms of international standards and behavior. So there are lots of things, regrettably, that we still have to work on."

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