Kerry Urges Lawmakers to Stay Out of Iran talks

Secretary of State John Kerry says lawmakers should "hold their fire" as negotiations with Iran continue.

Elad Benari ,

John Kerry
John Kerry

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday urged lawmakers not to put up obstacles in the path of the talks between Iran and the West on its nuclear program, AFP reported.

Kerry spoke with CBS's "Face the Nation" as he prepares to defend the deal to lawmakers later this week.

"I'll lay out the facts," Kerry said when asked about a different narrative emerging from Iranian leaders about the outlines of a deal agreed in Lausanne, Switzerland earlier this month.

"Everything I have laid out is a fact. And I'll stand by them," he added.

The Lausanne framework marked a major breakthrough in a 12-year standoff between Iran and the West, which disputes Tehran's denial that it is seeking to acquire nuclear bomb.

Global powers must resolve a series of difficult technical issues by a June 30 deadline for a final deal, including the steps for lifting global sanctions imposed on Iran, and lingering questions over the possible military dimensions of its nuclear program.

"I think people need to hold their fire and let us negotiate without interference and be able to complete the job over the course of the two-and-a-half months," Kerry was quoted as having said.

Iran recently accused the United States of "fraud" and "psychological warfare" in publishing a fact sheet announcing what the U.S. claims was agreed on in the framework deal and which an Iranian official called a false translation.

Top Iranian officials said last Tuesday that they will start using advanced IR-8 centrifuges that are 20-times as effective as standard ones as soon as a deal is reached, meaning they would be able to produce a nuclear arsenal in a rapid timeframe.

President Barack Obama likewise admitted in an interview last week that as a result of the deal, Iran will be able to reach a "zero" breakout time by 2028, meaning it could produce nuclear weapons immediately whenever it wanted to.

Iran's Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who will have the final say on any deal, plunged the accord into doubt last week suggesting that "nothing is binding" while President Hassan Rouhani demanded that sanctions be immediately lifted when any deal is signed.

Lawmakers have been pressuring the administration to impose new sanctions on Iran. A bill calling for new sanctions against Iran was gaining momentum in Congress, but Obama lobbied hard against it and has more than once threatened to veto the bill if it passes.