Kerry: Nuclear deal with Iran will be "failsafe"

Nov 14, 2013, 10:23 AM EST
REUTERS/Larry Downing

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday that any deal negotiated with Iran will be "failsafe" and will guarantee that Tehran will not have the capacity to develop nuclear weapons.

Trying to reassure skeptical lawmakers and U.S. allies, Kerry told MSNBC that the Obama administration wants time to negotiate a deal with Iran that would protect Israel, U.S. interests and the region and "guarantee failsafe that Iran will not be able to have a nuclear weapon."

Kerry said he spoke shortly before the televised interview with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to assure him that the U.S. understands Israel's deep concerns about Iran's nuclear program, which it sees as a threat to its security. Kerry said he told Netanyahu that the U.S. and Israel both agree that Iran should not be allowed to become a nuclear-armed nation.

But he said that while the Obama administration wants Congress to hold off on imposing any new sanctions while negotiations continue, Israel wants to see more sanctions to force Tehran to surrender any nuclear weapons capabilities.

Kerry, who has been briefing lawmakers on the most recent negotiations with Iran that took place in Geneva last week, said that Iran would likely view any new U.S. sanctions as a "bad faith" move in the talks and would embolden hard-liners in Tehran who do not want Iran to surrender any nuclear capabilities. Iran insists its program is being developed for peaceful purposes.