Watch: Kerry Indicates US Will Defend Iran from Israel
Kerry indirectly tells Senate deal will have US protect Iranian nuclear program from Israeli sabotage; ‘wait till we get to that point.’
US Secretary of State John Kerry indirectly conceded that the US would defend Iran’s nuclear program from Israeli sabotage on Thursday, in a hearing at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in which he was grilled over the deal reached last Tuesday.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) put Kerry on the spot when he asked him and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz whether the controversial articles in Annex III on page 142 of the 159-page deal would stipulate that the US block Israeli attempts to scupper the Iranian nuclear threat.
The articles in question state that the US, world powers and the EU obligate to “co-operation through training and workshops to strengthen Iran’s ability to protect against, and respond to nuclear security threats, including sabotage.”
Moniz did not reject the possibility but tried to deflect the implication of betrayal of Israeli security interests, saying, “I believe that refers to things like physical security and safeguards. All of our options and those of our allies and friends will remain in place.”
Undeterred, Rubio responded, “I guess that’s my point. If Israel conducts an airstrike on a physical facility, does this deal…require us to help Iran protect and respond to that threat?”
The secretary of energy hesitatingly replied by claiming that the clause would not obligate the US to respond to an Israeli airstrike.
Kerry then got involved, saying, “the purpose of that is to be able to have longer-term guarantees as we enter a world in which cyber warfare is increasingly a concern for everybody. If you are going to have a nuclear capacity, you clearly want to be able to make sure that those are adequately protected.”
Responding to Kerry’s hint that the clause is meant to defend Iran from “cyber warfare,” Rubio asked if the deal obligates the US to defend Iran from an Israeli cyber attack.
“I assure you that we will be coordinating very, very closely with Israel as we do on every aspect of Israel’s security,” said Kerry, tellingly refusing to directly answer what the deal obligates the US to do in such a scenario.
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