In an interview with Al Arabiya News on Monday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said, “If it is the policy, it’s very disturbing, it’s very troubling, and we’ll have to wait and see.”
By: Atara Beck, World Israel News
US Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged that the recent anti-American statements made by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei were “disturbing,” adding that the United States was “not kidding about the importance of pushing back against extremism.”
In an interview with Al Arabiya News on Monday, Kerry said he was taking the comments “at face value.”
“I don’t know how to interpret it at this point in time except to take it at face value, that that’s his policy. But I do know that often comments are made publicly and things can evolve that are different. If it is the policy, it’s very disturbing, it’s very troubling, and we’ll have to wait and see,” he said.
Khamenei stated over the weekend, just days after the signing of the nuclear deal, that Iran will not change his country’s policy toward the “arrogant” US, that “Iran has no trust in the US because American politicians are completely dishonest and unfair,” and that calls for “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” “indicated what directions” Iran was heading for.
“We are not kidding when we talk about the importance of pushing back against extremism, against support for terrorism and proxies who are destabilizing other countries. It’s unacceptable,” Kerry asserted.
He is slated to travel to the Gulf States in early August to discuss the Iran deal with the region’s leaders, who view Iran as their arch nemesis and a regional threat and fear the Islamic Republic will develop nuclear weapons, despite the deal.
Kerry, however, maintains that the deal “in fact, makes the Gulf states and the region safer.” He also stated his belief that through “very specific inspection and accountability measures that are part of the agreement forever – not for 15 years or 20 years, but forever,” Iran can be stopped from obtaining a bomb.
Kerry: ‘$100 billion is nothing’
Kerry posited that the US has not “for an instant stopped focusing on counterterrorism, on the nefarious activities, particularly proxies,” meaning the many terror organizations supported and financed by Iran.
Under the terms of the deal, Iran will have access to over $100 billion of frozen assets, which Israel has warned will be used to finance Iran’s global terror network.
“$100 billion is nothing compared to what gets spent every year in the region,” Kerry said, belittling the threat. “Iran’s military budget is $15 billion. The Gulf states’ military budget is $130 billion.”
First claiming that the deal brought calm to the region, Kerry now said that the countries threatened by Iran can fight back against it. “I think President Obama’s belief and our military assessments, our intelligence assessments, are that if they organize themselves correctly, all of the Arab states have an untapped potential that is very, very significant to be able to push back against any of these activities.”
“Obviously, there are a lot of conventional weapons in the region. But my belief, and I am convinced that, with the right kind of effort, we can find a very different set of arrangements that begin to give people comfort that they really don’t need to fear that the agreement itself is going to change anything,” he said.