"We're not fixated on Iran specifically accounting for what they did [regarding nuclear weapons programs] at one point in time or another," Kerry said. "We know what they did. We have no doubt. We have absolute knowledge with respect to the certain military activities they were engaged in."
"What we're concerned about is going forward," Kerry said. "It's critical to us to know that going forward, those activities have been stopped, and that we can account for that in a legitimate way."
In a deal we insist will "reset" Iran as a regional partner, we don't think it important that Iran admit to past nuclear weapons programs that they will insist in a deal is not in their planning for the next decade.
We're fooling ourselves if we think we know everything. If we let this slide, we establish the rule that Iran can hide what they can and it is our job to catch them.
We must have Iran's cooperation to understand how nuclear work can be used for weapons programs. If we don't get that, how do we monitor future nuclear work that is allowed? See here for more.
And perhaps most important, if we don't compel Iran to lay out their past nuclear weapons work, we pave the way for Iran to claim they are being unjustly punished by the evil West for a non-existent nuclear weapons program just to keep Moslems down.
This will help Iran weaken Western resolve to maintain pressure on Iran and give Iran a propaganda weapon to rally support in the Moslem world and the global Left.
I wish Kerry was fixated on defending American interests. He seems fixated on getting a lovely signing ceremony in some European castle, with cameras flashing and fancy wax seals and ribbons affixed all around.
Heck, he might even draft parts of the official French-language version himself!
And then the next year, the Nobel Peace Prize nomination.
You can see the shape of the deal coming as I've long feared. Iran will pretend they have no nuclear programs; and we will pretend to believe them.
Have a super sparkly day.
UPDATE: Kerry was forced to recant:
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry telephoned Iran's foreign minister in recent days to tell him that Tehran must answer questions about whether its past atomic research was arms-related if it wants a nuclear deal, officials said.
The telephone calls came after Kerry raised eyebrows among some Western officials by saying the U.S. was "not fixated" on any past Iranian work, about which it already had "absolute knowledge," and was looking to the future instead.
The officials have also voiced concern that Kerry was backing down on a crucial demand in the talks, one Tehran has consistently ignored, and said he was overstating U.S. knowledge about Tehran's past nuclear work in the interest of getting a deal at all costs.
Could we perhaps prevent Kerry from ad libbing with a microphone nearby?