United States Institute of Peace

The Iran Primer

Kerry’s Past Comments on Iran

            On December 21, President Barack Obama nominated Senator John Kerry to be the Secretary of State during his second term. The following are comments by Senator Kerry on Iran since 2004.

            “If I can just say to you and to the people of Israel: I hope there is no doubt about President Obama's seriousness and commitment that Iran should not have and cannot have a nuclear weapon. The President has made it clear that he is not talking about containment he is talking about prevention." May 1, 2012 to Israeli President Shimon Peres
 
            “I join this debate because the nuclear issue with Iran is deadly serious business. It should invite sobriety and thoughtfulness, not sloganeering and sound bites. The stakes are far too high for it to become just another applause line on the stump. Idle talk of war only helps Iran by spooking the tight oil market and increasing the price of the Iranian crude that pays for its nuclear program.” March 7, 2012 in an op-ed for The Washington Post
 
            “Iran is also divided internally and isolated diplomatically like never before. Iran’s most important ally, Syria, is facing regime collapse, which a former director of Israel’s Mossad recently said could be a bigger strategic setback for Iran than a military strike against it.” March 6, 2012 in a Senate floor statement
 
            “In the Middle East, China's interests are threatened as much as ours are by Iran's nuclear ambitions. Iran is China's third largest supplier of oil, and a war in the Persian Gulf would wreak havoc on China's economy. The United States and China need to pool our economic and political leverage to convince Iran to abandon its illicit nuclear activities and end its defiance of the UN Security Council and the International Atomic Energy Agency.” Feb. 22, 2012 in an op-ed for the San Francisco Chronicle
 
            “This accord [the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty] imposes no restriction on our ability to defend ourselves. In fact, the administration has been clear that we will not be limited in any way in plans to continue to build missile defenses to protect America from Iran and North Korea.” May 25, 2010 in a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on strategic arms control
 
            “The Bush administration [argument of] no enrichment was ridiculous . . . because it seemed so unreasonable to people… It was bombastic diplomacy. It was wasted energy. It sort of hardened the lines, if you will… They [Iranians] have a right to peaceful nuclear power and to enrichment in that purpose.” Early June 2009 in an interview with the Financial Times
 
            "I don't have time [to visit Iran] and we were not able to make arrangements in the short time span we had but I would be willing to go…at the appropriate time, at some point.” Dec. 15, 2006 to reporters in Cairo, Egypt
 

            “I think the United States should have offered the opportunity to provide the nuclear fuel, test them [the Iranians], see whether or not they were actually looking for it for peaceful purposes. If they weren't willing to work a deal, then we could have put sanctions together. The president did nothing.” Sept. 30, 2004 in a foreign policy debate with former President George W. Bush

 

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