WASHINGTON -- Having secured the votes to protect the Iran nuclear deal in Congress, Secretary of State John Kerry now sees the main threat to the long-term viability of the accord coming from abroad.
In an interview with The Huffington Post on Thursday,
Kerry argued that domestic perceptions of the deal -- and by extension
its political well-being -- would dramatically improve over time. And
not just incrementally. The secretary of state predicted the country
“will be 90 percent supportive” of the deal once the next president
takes office, making it impossible for him or her to rip it up, as
virtually every Republican candidate has promised to do.
“I cannot see a president willfully taking the United Nations, five
other nations who supported us in this negotiation and saying, 'Sorry,
we're just going to walk away from this and create a more dangerous
situation in the Middle East.' I just don't see that happening,” Kerry
said, calling it “absurd” that a candidate would pull off such a move.
The aura of confidence from Foggy Bottom is the outgrowth of
generally positive developments for the administration this past week. A
number of Senate Democrats, formerly on the fence, announced their
support for the Iran deal, thereby assuring the president can
successfully veto a resolution of disapproval.
Assessing the hurdles ahead, Kerry said his primary occupation was Iran’s domestic politics, not his own.
“I think the one concern one would have is that you have some element
within Iran that pushes back or refuses to do something. In which case,
the Iranian government is going to have to answer for that,”
said Kerry. “So I can see the potential that you may have a hiccup here
or there where you've got to confront something like that, but I don’t
see the government, at this point, opening itself up to the potential of
a snapback of all of these sanctions, and the potential obviously also
of military action -- if that was the only option available."