Kerry: We deserve the benefit of doubt on Iran deal
How clueless is our secretary of State? He believes that the administration's diplomatic record with Iran has earned it the "benefit of the doubt" in the nuclear negotiations.
Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday tried to calm tensions with Israel before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's congressional address, yet insisted the Obama administration's diplomatic record with Iran entitles the U.S. to "the benefit of the doubt" as negotiators work toward a long-term nuclear deal.
Kerry said in an interview broadcast before he left for more talks in Switzerland with Iran's foreign minister that Netanyahu was welcome to speak in the U.S. and that the administration did not want the event "turned into some great political football."
That sentiment was a step back from some of the sharp rhetoric between the allies in recent weeks, and Kerry mentioned that he talked to Netanyahu as recently as Saturday.
But Kerry stressed that Israel was safer as a result of the short-term nuclear pact that world powers and Iran reached in late 2013, and he described that improvement as the "standard we will apply to any agreement" with the Islamic Republic.
Officials have described the United States, Europe, Russia and China as considering a compromise that would see Iran's nuclear activities severely curtailed for at least a decade, with the restrictions and U.S. and Western economic penalties eased in the final years of a deal.
"We are going to test whether or not diplomacy can prevent this weapon from being created, so you don't have to turn to additional measures including the possibility of a military confrontation," Kerry told ABC's "This Week."
"Our hope is that diplomacy can work. And I believe, given our success of the interim agreement, we deserve the benefit of the doubt to find out whether or not we can get a similarly good agreement with respect to the future."
This is a man in full denial of reality. Iran has continuously violated the interim agreement by updating and improving its centrifuge technology, while still being less than transparent with the International Atomic Energy Agency who says that Iran is still not coming clean on its nuclear program - a requirement in that interim deal.
The head of the United Nations' nuclear watchdog said on Monday Iran had still not handed over key information to his staff, and his body's investigation into Tehran's atomic program could not continue indefinitely.
"Iran has yet to provide explanations that enable the agency to clarify two outstanding practical measures," chief Yukiya Amano told the body's Board of Governors in Vienna, echoing a report seen by Reuters last month.
The two measures relating to alleged explosives tests and other measures that might have been used for bomb research should have been addressed by Iran by last August.
"The Agency is not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities," Amano said.
The West fears Iran wants to develop an atomic bomb. Tehran says its nuclear program is entirely peaceful.
The Agency remains ready to accelerate the resolution of all outstanding issues, he added, but "this process cannot continue indefinitely".
In order to give anyone the benefit of the doubt, you must trust the other party. If Kerry trusts Iran then we are in bigger trouble than anyone previously thought. And he has given us little reason to trust him to negotiate a deal that would satisfy Israel's or America's national security interests.
Otherwise, why is Netanyahu coming to Washington? He doesn't trust the Iranians. Most of America doesn't trust the Iranians. And by extension, no one trusts the secretary of state.
We'll give him the benefit of the doubt when he earns it - not before.