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Israel, Egypt 'pushed' US to bomb Iran ahead of 2015 nuclear deal: Kerry

Former US secretary of state John Kerry is a co-leader in the Carter Center's election observation mission in Kenya
JOHN MUCHUCHA (AFP)
'Each of them said to me, you have to bomb Iran, it’s the only thing they are going to understand,' said Kerry

Israel and Egypt pressed the US to attack Iran ahead of the 2015 nuclear deal between the Islamic Republic and Western powers, then-US Secretary of State John Kerry said during a forum in Washington on Wednesday .

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, one of the deal's most vocal critics, was “genuinely agitating toward action,” the former official was quoted by AP as saying.

During his position as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 2009 to early 2013, Kerry said he met with Saudi King Abdullah, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Netanyahu who all pushed for military action in Iran. It was not entirely clear when the exchanges occurred.

“Each of them said to me, you have to bomb Iran, it’s the only thing they are going to understand,” he said. However, from Kerry’s perspective this was a “a trap”, as a US bombing campaign in Iran would have led to undoubted criticism.

The former Secretary of State said he didn’t know whether Iran would resume pursuing a nuclear weapon in 10 to 15 years after restrictions in the deal sunset but declared it was the best the US could get in terms of security concerns in the Middle East, reported AP.

ATTA KENARE (AFP)

“Without exaggeration, the likelihood is very high that we would have been in conflict [without a deal]”, he stated.

Kerry, who played a key role in securing the deal between Iran and the international powers, has criticized US President Donald Trump for attempting to ‘fix’ the agreement that Kerry claimed “is doing precisely what it was set up to do.”

Netanyahu, at the time, was a vociferous supporter of Trump’s efforts not to re-certify the nuclear deal, describing it as a “courageous decision” and that the president had “boldly confronted Iran’s terrorist regime.” Further adding that Israel embraced the opportunity “to fix this bad deal.”

Despite reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran is honoring its obligations to the nuclear deal, amid accusations by Trump that it isn’t, the US continued to pass a number of pieces of legislation targeting the country via its proxy group Hezbollah.

This came in a bid to further constrain Iranian influence after Trump reneged on his opposition to the re-certification agreement. The bills initiated focus on sanctions and target the illicit funding of the Shiite group.

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