The Obama administration and Congress clashed Tuesday over the historic nuclear deal with Iran, exposing deep rifts over a U.S. pledge to refrain from any new sanctions over the next six months in exchange for concessions on enriching uranium. The disagreement could have broad consequences for the U.S. diplomatic effort to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
In his first congressional testimony since last month's Geneva agreement, Secretary of State John Kerry defended the diplomacy as having halted and rolled back central elements of Iran's nuclear program for the first time. He pleaded with Democrats and Republicans alike not to scuttle the chances of a peaceful resolution to a crisis that has regularly featured U.S. and Israeli threats of potential military action.
"Let me be very clear: This is a very delicate diplomatic moment and we have a chance to address peacefully one of the most pressing national security concerns that the world faces today," Kerry told the House Foreign Affairs Committee. "We're at a crossroads. We're at one of those really hinge points in history. One path could lead to an enduring resolution in the international community's concerns about Iran's nuclear program. The other path could lead to continued hostility and potentially to conflict."