Cancel Iran Deal and You're Back to Square One, John Kerry Says

Former secretary of state says intelligence presented by Netanyahu is not new and that agreement on nuclear program is working as intended

Former U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, attends a panel discussion at the International Security Conference in Munich, Germany, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018.
Andreas Gebert/AP

WASHINGTON – Former secretary of state John Kerry on Wednesday dismissed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech on the Iran nuclear deal, and stated that the information presented by Netanyahu on Iran's past attempts to develop a nuclear weapon was the main reason the United States got into the nuclear deal to begin with.

"Every detail Netanyahu presented yesterday was every reason the world came together to apply years of sanctions and negotiate the Iran nuclear agreement," Kerry wrote on his Twitter account. 

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Kerry added that the deal is fulfilling its purposed and attached to his tweet a public letter signed by 26 former senior Israeli officials advising the United States to refrain from bowing out of the deal. Kerry also said that the information presented by Netanyahu in his speech on Monday originated from over a decade ago, before the negotiations on the Iran nuclear agreement began. "Blow up the deal and you're back there tomorrow," Kerry warned.

Kerry and Netanyahu were considered to have a strong relationship when Kerry was a U.S. senator and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. However, after Kerry became secretary of state in the Obama administration, the two often clashed in private and in public, on both the Iranian issue and regarding the Palestinians. In his last policy speech in December 2016, Kerry harshly criticized Netanyahu's government for its construction in West Bank settlements. 

Another former Obama administration official reacting to Netanyahu's speech was Rob Malley, who served as senior Middle East adviser during Obama's second term. Malley wrote that there was "nothing new" in Netanyahu's presentation and that "the Israeli prime minister has an audience of one: Trump."