Kerry asks for more time, space on Iran
WASHINGTON - Reuters
AFP PhotoU.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told skeptical Republicans and Democrats on April 13 that the U.S. Congress should give him another two and a half months to secure a final nuclear deal with Iran.
In a closed briefing with the full House of Representatives, Kerry sought to blunt legislation that would give Congress the opportunity to approve or reject preliminary sanctions relief in deal. He was scheduled to brief the Senate on April 14.
“We hope Congress will listen carefully ... but also give us some space so we will be able to complete a very difficult task,” Kerry told reporters as he entered the meeting.
The April 2 framework nuclear deal Iran struck with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States seeks to limit the Iranian nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions. A final deal is due by June 30.
The United States suspects the aim of Iran’s nuclear program is to build a bomb. Tehran maintains it is for peaceful purposes.
In a sign of the nuclear talks’ importance to President Barack Obama, Kerry was joined by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. Some Democrats are lining up with Republicans and could form a veto-proof majority to support the bill, which Obama says would undermine the delicate final stage of negotiations. The backing by some of Obama’s fellow Democrats illustrates the depth of concern in Washington over a possible nuclear-armed Iran.