National Security & Defense

John Kerry: Obama Might Not Follow Law if Congress Blocks Iran Deal

John Kerry testifies on Capitol Hill, July 28, 2015. (Olivier Douliery/Getty)

Testifying before Congress this morning, Secretary of State John Kerry refused to pledge to follow the law in the event that Congress rejects the deal he negotiated with Iran.

“Let’s say Congress doesn’t take your advice, we override a veto, and the law that’s triggered then imposes certain sanctions,” Representative Brad Sherman (D., Calif.) asked during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing. “Will you follow the law even though you think it violates this agreement clearly and even if you think it’s absolutely terrible policy?”

Kerry demurred. “I can’t begin to answer that at this point without consulting with the president and determining what the circumstances are,” he said.

Sherman was clearly surprised by the answer. “So you’re not committed to following the law?”

“No, I said I’m not going to deal with a hypothetical, that’s all,” Kerry said.

#related#Kerry, appearing alongside Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, has faced consistent pressure from his own party during the hearing. The top Democrat on the panel, New York representative Eliot Engel, repeatedly dismissed Kerry’s claims that the deal does not allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon eventually. “The truth is that after 15 years Iran is a nuclear threshold state, they’re legitimized in this agreement as being a nuclear threshold state, which means they can produce weapons-grade highly-enriched uranium without limitation, ” Engel said.

— Joel Gehrke is a political reporter for National Review.

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