QUESTION: Could this be the beginning of a major change, though, in U.S.-Iran – I mean —
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, there’s no way to tell that. I mean, it was not the purpose of the negotiation. It’s about a nuclear program. But we’re prepared to test whether or not they’re prepared to change their relationship in the region, and we certainly – I think it would be diplomatic malpractice if we didn’t keep our doors open to possibilities.
QUESTION: This deal is going before the UN Security Council on Monday. You’ve heard some harsh criticism about that from Congress. Bob Corker, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said this is an affront to the American people. Ben Cardin, the top Democrat on the committee, said this is presumptuous to go to the UN before Congress. Why are you going to the UN before you’re going to the U.S. Congress with this deal?
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, we’re not. What we did was negotiate with our P5+1 partners, who are not subject to the Congress, that it cannot be implemented until after Congress has had a chance to vote.
QUESTION: But the bottom line is the UN is going to vote on this before a Congress is going to vote on this.
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, they have a right to do that. Honestly, it’s presumptuous of some people to suspect that France, Russia, China, Germany, Britain, ought to do what the Congress tells them to do. They have a right to have a vote. But we prevailed on them to delay the implementation of that vote out of respect for our Congress so we wouldn’t be jamming them.
QUESTION: One of the most controversial provisions here is that in terms of these covert sites, Iran can delay for 24 days before inspectors get in there. You, Mr. Secretary, had said that there would be anywhere, anytime inspections. Well, 24 days is not anywhere, anytime.
SECRETARY MONIZ: It was anytime, anywhere in the sense of a well-defined process that would have a well-defined conclusion in time. Three weeks for a process of this type is reasonable. Most important, we are very confident in our ability to detect the vestiges of any nuclear work beyond 24 days.
QUESTION: So even though they have nearly a month, they can’t clean up what they’re doing and hide what they’re doing?
SECRETARY MONIZ: Yes. There have been various analogies to throwing things down toilets, et cetera. This is not so simple with nuclear materials. We have plenty of evidence of exquisite environmental sampling that will reveal the traces of nuclear work.
QUESTION: I want to ask you – the lifting of the arms embargo. So you’re going to unleash $100 billion of Iranian assets, and then within five years they’re going to be able to go on the open market, arms embargo lifted. This is the premier state sponsor of terrorism.
SECRETARY KERRY: The United Nations resolution which brought about the sanctions in the first place said that if Iran will suspend its enrichment and come to negotiations, all the sanctions would be lifted. Now, they’ve done more than just come to negotiations. They’ve actually negotiated a deal. And three of the seven nations thought they shouldn’t therefore be held to any kind of restraint. We prevailed and insisted, no, they have to be.
But we have ample other resolutions that allow us to hold them accountable for moving any weapons. President Obama is committed to doubling down on the enforcement of those measures. So I really think that a mountain is being made out of a molehill here