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Secretary of State John Kerry announces the agreement reached on Iran’s nuclear program on Sunday.
Lawmakers and diplomats across the globe wasted no time taking sides Sunday after the U.S. and five world powers struck a deal with Iran to scale back Tehran’s nuclear program.
Just hours after an agreement was reached for Iran to halt its nuclear program in exchange for the easing of stiff economic sanctions, Secretary of State John Kerry appeared on multiple morning news shows as part of a media blitz to defend the pact.
“I believe Congress will recognize that this deal actually has a great deal of benefit in it,” Kerry said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” but later acknowledged the delicateness the deal.
“Everybody has a right to be skeptical because there are indications that there are people in Iran who have wanted to pursue a weapons program, Kerry said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “We don’t take anything at face value. That’s why you don’t take it for granted.”
And the deal, did, in fact, generate a generous share immediate skepticism. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted the pact in no uncertain terms during a speech Sunday morning.
‘What was achieved last night in Geneva is not an historic agreement; it is an historic mistake,’ Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday.
“What was achieved last night in Geneva is not an historic agreement; it is an historic mistake,” Netanyahu said. “Lifting the pressure, this “first step”, might be the last step.”
“Without continued pressure, what incentive does Iran have to take serious steps that actually dismantle its nuclear weapons capability,” Netanyahu said.
A number of U.S. lawmakers were unhappy as well.
“We’ve taken away the one thing that brought them to the table,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said, suggesting that stopping sanctions against Iran was unwise.
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Iranians look at newspapers displayed outside a kiosk on Sunday after a deal was reached on the country’s nuclear program.
“We were getting to the place where they were ready to bite … we may have just encouraged more violence in the future than we’ve stopped,” he said.
President Obama, meanwhile, lauded the deal during a nationally televised address Saturday night.
“For the first time in nearly a decade, we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program and key parts of the program will be rolled back,” Obama said.
The momentous accord came after U.S. and Iranian diplomats had participated in secret high-level talks for the past year, according to the Associated Press.
The six-month interim agreement — under which Iran committed to halting certain levels of enrichment, stopping the use of its centrifuges and allowing in nuclear inspectors — was designed to pave the way for a broader, long-term agreement to scale back Iran’s controversial nuclear program.