November 10th, 2013
11:17 AM ET
9 years ago

Kerry ‘not blind’ to Rouhani's past

Washington (CNN) - America's top diplomat dismissed concerns Sunday that the Obama administration was not being skeptical enough while the U.S. negotiates with Iran over its continued enrichment of uranium, activity widely assumed to be supporting a nuclear weapons program.

Secretary of State John Kerry emphatically told David Gregory on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that "we are not blind, and I don't think we're stupid" when it comes to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's past claims that he could game the Western world in brokered talks while his nation continued to pursue its nuclear ambitions.

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Kerry's remarks came the morning after three days of intensive talks about Iran's nuclear program concluded early Sunday in Geneva, Switzerland, without an agreement. While the key players, including Kerry, insisted the process continues to move in the right direction, the talks raised fears among U.S. allies that Iran was presenting a disingenous front and has no real intention of slowing its march toward weaponizing its nuclear technology.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is not involved in the talks, warned last week that an agreement would be "the deal of a century for Iran" but a "very dangerous and bad deal for peace."

With new talks scheduled for November 20, Kerry's Iranian counterpart signaled that progress had been made and the two sides are getting closer and closer to reaching an accord.

"I think we are all on the same wavelength, and that's important," Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said.
Kerry trumpeted the historic nature of the talks, calling them "serious business.”

"This is the first time that the P5 had come together with this kind of a serious set of possible options in front of it with a new Iranian government," Kerry said.

The talks involve the P5+1: the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain - the countries with permanent seats on the UN Security Council - plus Germany.

Still, in his interview with Gregory, Kerry maintained a healthy dose of skepticism, falling back on the oft-sounded catchall that the administration "has taken no option off the table."

"This is a new overture, and it has to be put to the test very, very carefully," Kerry said.

"There will not be a relaxation of the pressure," he added. "Nobody has talked about getting rid of the current architecture of sanctions. The pressure will remain."

Filed under: Iran • John Kerry • State Department
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Joe M.

    Kerry: "I'm not blind to Rouhani's past, but I just choose to ignore it since it doesn't suit my political objective"

    November 10, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  2. ditdahdit

    If peace were as profitable as war we would be living in Eden again.

    November 10, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  3. Good deal

    Good deal, that Kerry under Obama's supervision, is claiming that he will be skeptical and drive a hard bargain with Iran, and at the same time keep them talking-- all well and good. But I share the concerns, I see written above, about the administration saying anything, and then doing something else. Words are easy, but actions is how we are judge- and it will be how you are judged Mr Secretary, regardless of what the president tells you to do- I hope you remember this when you represent the US , in this manner. The people are watching closely.

    November 10, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  4. Ed Bodi

    We've heard the US response to the failed peace talks with Iran. Now let's hear from Russia and China.

    November 10, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  5. BigSir

    Time to stop listening to Israel.

    November 10, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  6. TheMing

    We should go back to a Cold War footing with the Middle-east.

    November 10, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  7. Carlos Suazo

    Just like Barack Obama, the Iranians lie and lie and lie. Do not believe a word either of them say.

    November 10, 2013 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  8. Tutuvabene

    Rouhani and Obama. Both politicians, which means they are willing to say things that may stretch the truth or outright lies to accomplish their goals. Rouhani, at this point, seems to be the more capable and charming.

    November 10, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  9. jimmie

    He may not be blind but he is still Obama's toady and will do whatever Obama tells him to.
    Obama will do anything to get a deal of ANY sort with iran in a desperate attempt to bring his dismal poll numbers up.

    November 10, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  10. brown

    AIPAC has already made the decision for War. They expect the President to carry out their demands.

    November 10, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  11. GARY

    If anyone thinks the Iranian goverment wants to kiss and make up should WAKE UP. We will see no peace only a Big Flash in the sky. Think about it and get ready !

    November 10, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  12. Evergreen

    The party that don't want young people to have affordable healthcare will not give a second thought to sending these same young people to die in their ideological wars. Remember this young people when you hear those ads saying that Obamacare "bad," because to them, sending you off to war "good."

    November 10, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
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