US Secretary of State John Kerry defended the Iran nuclear deal reached in Vienna last week saying those who criticized the deal provided no alternatives and those who think a better deal could have been reached are not being realistic. In an interview with PBS on Friday Kerry was asked if the Obama administration would work to establish normal relations with Israel again which the interviewer said "even friends of the administration" claim have "been badly frayed by the Iran agreement." Kerry said he talked to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a day earlier and regularly throughout the nuclear negotiations.
He said the US was more linked day to day in the security relationship with Israel than at any time in history. "President Obama is prepared to upgrade that, to work to do more to be able to address specific concerns," he said. Kerry then criticized the position, most prominently held by Netanyahu, that holds that a better deal could have been reached with Iran. "Now, there’s no alternative being provided by all these other people. They all say, oh, why didn’t you crush them with the sanctions? I will tell you why. Because they won’t be crushed by sanctions. That’s been proven. And because we will lose the other people who are helping to provide those sanctions. They are not going to do that if Iran is willing to make a reasonable agreement," he said. "So, there is a lot of fantasy out there about this quote “better deal.” The fact is that we spent four years putting together an agreement that had the consent of Russia, China, France, Germany, Great Britain and Iran. That is not easy," the secretary added. He said the agreement withstands scrutiny and will deliver an Iran that cannot get a nuclear weapon. Addressing critics of the deal on Capitol Hill Kerry said members of Congress were "out of politics or something" rejecting the deal automatically without even reading the agreement or knowing what all the components were.
Yuval Steinitz rejects remarks by John Kerry that a better deal could not have been reached.