Hands off the Ayatollah regime.
WASHINGTON — Secretary of State John Kerry took a brief break from his rigorous travel schedule to the Middle East to press Congress Tuesday to hold off on additional sanctions against Iran, describing such legislation as “gratuitous” and potentially damaging not only to any future deal with the Islamic Republic, but also to America’s relations with fellow states in the P5+1 group.
Kerry’s comments before the House Foreign Affairs Committee shed light on Washington’s flexibility on the terms of a final status agreement. While he said that the interim agreement reached last month in Geneva rendered the Arak heavy water facility “frozen stone-cold,” he did not rule out the possibility of future negotiations over the fate of the plant, which could be used to produce plutonium for a nuclear bomb. [...]
Anticipating being pressed by members of Congress on the repeal of sanctions placed on Iran by Congressional mandate, Kerry told the committee that the estimated $7 billion in sanctions relief that would result from Iran’s compliance with the interim agreement “pales in comparison with the amount of pressure we’re leaving in place.”
Describing additional sanctions as “gratuitous,” Kerry emphasized that he would not rule out such legislation in the future.