Kerry: Iran ‘won’t be crushed by sanctions’

Watch an excerpt from Secretary of State John Kerry’s interview on Friday about the recently signed nuclear agreement.

A landmark agreement that clamps down on Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon makes the region, and particularly Israel, safer, said Secretary of State John Kerry in an interview airing on Friday’s PBS NewsHour.

He said critics have asked, “Why didn’t you crush [Iran] with the sanctions?”

“I’ll tell you why. Because they won’t be crushed by sanctions – that’s been proven – and because we’ll lose the other people who are helping to provide those sanctions. … So there’s a lot of fantasy out there about this, quote, ‘better deal,’” he said.

The deal, negotiated this week by Iran and six world powers, must be approved by Congress and endorsed by the U.N. Security Council.

Despite what critics of the agreement say, Iran is not allowed to spend its unfrozen assets on Hezbollah, Shiite militias in Iraq or Houthi rebels in Yemen, Kerry continued.

“They’re not allowed to do that outside even of this (nuclear) agreement,” he said, adding that U.N. resolutions state as much.

Kerry said when he meets with Gulf state leaders in Doha in two weeks, he will outline what steps the allies can take to “push back against this behavior.”

U.S. intelligence “has done a full analysis of Iran’s fiscal needs,” and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani “needs to deliver to the Iranian people,” he said. “They have high expectations from this deal for a change in their lifestyle.”

You can watch the full interview that aired on Friday’s PBS NewsHour.