US Secretary of State John Kerry meets with US delegation to Iran talks on the terrace of a hotel where the negotiations are being held in Vienna, Austria July 2, 2015..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
If the United States walks away from the nuclear deal struck with Iran last month in Vienna and demands that its allies comply with US sanctions, the dollar may soon cease to be the world's reserve currency, the top US diplomat said on Monday.
"If we turn around and nix the deal and then tell them, you're going to have to obey our rules and sanctions anyway, that is a recipe, very quickly .... for the American dollar to cease to be the reserve currency of the world," US Secretary of State John Kerry said at a Reuters Newsmaker event.
He added that it would be impossible for Iran, under the nuclear agreement between Iran and major powers, to create a secret program for developing atomic fuel without the United States being able to detect it.
Kerry acknowledged that Iran had clearly pursued nuclear weapons technology in the past. He said, however, that they had not recently pursued a weapon and their had been a fight within the country over whether they should, a debate that ended with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issuing a fatwa against nuclear weapons.
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He said that the hard-liners of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards still want a nuclear weapon, and are opposed to the agreement, but the president and supreme leader have adopted an agreement now in which they say that they never want a nuclear weapon.
Kerry reiterated that there is no better deal, saying that former president George W. Bush had tried to get a better deal and had failed. Iran's nuclear program had only grown during those previous efforts.
"They became a nuclear threshold nation while we had a policy of no enrichment," he said. "Only President Obama has put in to place a program that has rolled back their program. We are already in year two of compliance," he said.
Rejecting the argument of those who say that the deal allows Iran to pursue nuclear weapons after the agreement "sunsets," Kerry said, "The no vote takes 20 or 15 years from now and makes it tomorrow."
The sanctions regime which brought Iran to the negotiating table was "already fraying," Kerry argued, stating that this made making the deal now all the more necessary.
He rejected the argument that the US is strong enough to force its allies to stick to the sanctions regime if Washington walks away from the deal. "Are you kidding me? We'll be able to force them to do what we want them to do after we walked away from a deal?"
Kerry also stated that the US walking away from the deal would remove any legitimacy for a potential military strike against Iran should it pursue nuclear weapons. "Can you imagine Israel and the US taking military action because we forced a situation when we had a deal in place?" he asked.
He reiterated his belief that the deal is the best way to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
"If Iran tries to break out to a bomb we will know it to a certainty," Kerry said. "We have a lifetime of inspection rights any time we have suspicions," he added.
Israel and all of the Gulf states are safer with this deal than without it, Kerry argued.
He said that there is a military option and Obama is prepared to use it if necessary, but he prefers to give diplomacy a chance.