Photo Credit: Lori Lowenthal Marcus

In what was described as a “purely emotional” appeal that did not reveal the necessary specificity to assuage lawmakers’ concerns about a deceptive Iran on the brink of acquiring the ability to produce nuclear weapons, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with members of the U.S. Senate banking committee on Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 13.

Kerry remained adamant that if congress ups the sanctions, it will push away Iranians from the negotiating table.  And many members of congress seemed to be just as adamant that de-fanging sanctions at this stage of negotiations, when the Iranians remain unwilling to make major concessions, will mean any deal will be at great cost to the west and have little substantive effect on Iran’s nuclear abilities.


“Our hope is that no new sanctions would be put in place for the simple reason that, if they are, it could be viewed as bad faith by the people we are negotiating with,” Kerry said before entering a closed-door briefing with members of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, according to CNN.

“It could destroy the ability to be able to get agreement,” he added, “and it could actually wind up setting us back in dialogue that’s taken 30 years to achieve.”

But after the meeting, the few congressmen who were willing to speak had harsh words both about the content of what was discussed, but also the atmospherics.

“It was fairly anti-Israeli,” Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) said to reporters after the briefing. “I was supposed to disbelieve everything the Israelis had just told me, and I think the Israelis probably have a pretty good intelligence service.” He said the Israelis had told him that the “total changes proposed set back the program by 24 days.”

A Senate aide told BuzzFeed that during the meeting, “every time anybody would say anything about ‘what would the Israelis say,’ they’d get cut off and Kerry would say, ‘You have to ignore what they’re telling you, stop listening to the Israelis on this.’”

“They had no details,” the aide said. “They had no ability to verify anything, to describe anything, to answer basic questions.”

Republicans and Democrats alike have questioned the sagacity of removing sanctions at this point in the negotiations, rather than ratcheting them up now, and then dialing them back down if an acceptable deal is reached.

Kerry’s approach, which placed the onus in exactly the opposite direction, was that the U.S. and the rest of the global community could “dial back up” sanctions later, if no agreement is reached with the Iranians.

“If this doesn’t work, we reserve the right to dial back up the sanctions. I will be up here on the Hill asking for increased sanctions, and we always reserve the military option,” he said. “Let’s give them a few weeks, see if it works, and we have all of our options at our disposal.”

In addition to Kerry, Vice President Joe Biden and State Department’s lead Iran negotiator Wendy Sherman were also present at the meeting.  Bret Stephens held up a non-rose-colored lens to Sherman’s career in Monday’s Wall Street Journal.



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Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a contributor to the A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email:


  1. These six things doth the Lord Hate:Yea, seven are an abomination to him: A proud look, a lying tongue,and hands that shed innocent blood,a heart that deviseth wicked imaginations,feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discard among the brethren

  2. HaShem is a better option anyway. One day a prophet (this really happened) was told by the Lord that He would defend Israel and take action against her foes. The prophet said, “Are you really going to do that?” The Lord said, “I’ve done this before, I’m not practicing.”

  3. Oh by all means, David, we JEWS saw that. And are you non-Jews foolish enough to think that ANYONE believes it has any meaning? Do you think we JEWS have ignored every other display of incompetence and fecklessness put on by the Obama administration over the last five years? Have you? Do you realize the U.S's overeagerness for a deal with the Iranians has been shown up by no less courageous a country than FRANCE? How does that make you non-Jewish real Americans feel? Do you realize that America's commitment as the leader of the free world has beengiven the lie by no less western a country than SAUDI ARABIA? Don't you non-Jewish real Americans find that a trifle embarrassing?

  4. David Bettino Your mistake were the white papers not letting jews repatriate into Israel , Your mistake was going against the judgment of league of nations making Palestinian province into Jordan. Your mistake was allowing influx of islamists into Europe , Now Europe is f’ed .

  5. And Kerry once wanted to be a US president? Appeasement comes before fall. This is what Chamberlain did. He should be ashamed that the French are leading the quest to stop Iran from developing Nukes, not the Americans. It is clear to the most uninformed person that Israel is not the real target of Iran's nuclear program because Israel has the resources to strike back. The primary target are the GCC countries who have no power to strike back. Kerry OUGHT to defend them.

  6. I see john Kerry this men has a paranoid delusion he need a mental hospital he think is God, first to came back to the past united state has to return California to México, Kerry has nothing to do with Israel is not belong to him what a men so ignorant

  7. How would one feel safe when truth is moderated?
    Quit Gardasil Kirk. Israel! Are you kidding? Who cares anyway? Its ketchup, KFC, McDonald, Pizza Hut and Tampon for emerging Iran.that's what matter now.If I had a vulva I will court Rouhani over Kerry. Though Rouhani ain’t my favorite belly-dancer but he’s more reliable than Kerry in this standpoint. Look how he lured DC fools into his SIT and WAIT game away from his nuke gizmo.
    ✡Nolo contendere. Bring it on Bibi! Quit bluffing the whole world. When Kerry talks everyone pokes middle finger. make sure ur finger is clean not dirty and you also got to make sure you do it right and u gotta make sure you do it … “Washington would defend its allies and would not undermine ties with Arab allies”.
    ✡Was Kerry bluffing as his boss Barrrack Hussein Obama? Oh yes indeed.
    ✡It’s a pity that Abdulla Bin Zayed ran outta options to believe that Kerry ain’t selling Heinz ketchup, KFC, McDonald, Pizza Hut and Tampon for emerging Iran.
    ✡If Abdulla Bin Zayed is betting on any a wrong horse then John Kerry is what he’s looking for now? He’s just buying time, wasting money.
    ✡It ain’t precedent but it’s a big screw-up right there.
    ✡Instead of fooling around tossing wildcards. Why don’t John Kerry pimp some mercenaries to kick the Iranian occupiers outta Emirates Trio Isles. He’s deranged.
    ✡Cloning Sisi coup in iran is stooopid idea. Helll no! he’s must be kidding. Iran junta suffers manhood deficiency syndrome that’s how Mullah’s are calling the shots in Iran for years. Sanctions are too porous to hold Iran’s cash flow. Iran exchanges Iraq $4B petrodollar from Beirut everyday. With this cash Iran can survive another light year.
    ✡Bombing Iran is 45 years old bluff alas Boooring XBOX played by Washington & Tel Aviv to extort Donuthole Jews and bleeding ‘em to death and smoke GCC Thugocracies for more money or else they will be democratized. So was Bibi The-Lipo.
    ✡Khameneiain’t use the Toilet without his masters’ permission in Tel Aviv. Khamenei is Obama’s favorite lapdog third dearest to his [Portuguese-Water-Dogs] Bo & Sunny.
    ✡Ahmadinejad [an Azeri distant cousin of Avigdor Lieberman Nightclub bouncer and former Israeli Foreign Minister] fooled the whole world to drive DC religiously to arm Israel to teeth. Ahmadinejad is missed by Stateless Urban-Rejects that steal and settle in the Holy Land as we speak. He fooled Washington fools for decade. ‘Wiping Israel off the map’ was good one and the “Nuclear bomb” stunt that he pulled to get Netanyahu elected twice.
    ✡Don’t you ever forget that Iran was the first country in the world recognized State of Israel before USA & UK 66 years ago? Recall that amidst mutual threats in 1980’s, Israel quietly sold Iran $5 Billion of US Arms. That’s why Iran gets the lion share of News Coverage on world headlines controlled by Zionists.
    ✡He ordered Iraqi Shiite to ship to Israel hundreds of billions of dollars worth of arms, weapons & equipment residues UHAULED from 88 US closed Bases in Iraq for free to Israel. Thanks to Ahmadinejad. He’s been good ally to Israel.

  8. The US Congress desperately need to intervene in these so called talks with Iran. Iran should be reeled in and pay the piper for her murderous intent against Israel. Ezekiel 38 & 39 is a stunning view of what is in store for Iran and those nations who come against Israel.

  9. All Americans are tired of being Israel's proxy military and muscle, and for being the same for the Saudi royals. $ 6 trillion and counting reacting like fools to "threats" in the middle east. We will give Israel a big chunk of the American southwest and they can move there so we don't have to constantly hear about Israel and it's open air concentration camp. We could save much, much blood and treasure. All for a piles of old stone and bricks. Who cares. Holy land schmoly land. it is just a dry dusty desert. A theme park for people who believe in medieval fairy tales. We are very, very weary of it and we have our own very serious problems to deal with here in the US. Leave us out of all your silliness.

  10. You are deluded. The Israeli lobby is more powerful than the gun lobby, over ALL members of the Legislature. You should move to Israel where you can revel in all the fun politics there.

  11. Kerry represents the USA and not the State of Israel. The Israelis need to follow their own path and leave the USA to follow theirs. Jews voted en masse for Obama and the Democrats. They equally donated hundreds of millions of dollars to Obama as well. Now that the tide is turning away from Israel and the Jews, Who can they blame but themselves for the fiasco they currently are in?

  12. Kerry is unqualified for mid east peace talks for two reasons:
    1)His ancestors converted to Christianity in order to avoid antisemitism
    2)He lives in a large occupied settlement called the USA
    so of course he has his skeletons hunting him
    and disqualifying him.

  13. The same with great Israeli Jews ,like Begin, for giving up the Sinai for a peace of paper or for Israeli leaders that are more worried about not riling up muslims and letting muslims rule the temple mount or agreeing to the Oslo accords and bringing arrafat right next door or Sharon for evacuating gaza! Jews are their own worst enemy!

  14. Spoken like a depraved and simple minded Jew hater!! I guess you have no problem with the billions we give to hate America muslim countries though! Unfortunately the US has always used their muscle to stop Israel from doing what it needs to do for it's own security! Make yourself happy, go live i a muslim country and rent yourself out as a Jew hater!!

  15. Kerry is a moron and a traitor now just like he was when he SUPPORTED THE NORTH VIETNAMESE.

    Anyone who stands with this bozo (and Obama) supporting Iran should convert out, and if you aren't Jewish, gtho of America as well.

  16. why not abolish ALL religions. they are the cause of more war and death, theft, murder than all other excuses combined. the catholics set up an underground railroad to south america for german war criminals. not to mention the huge amount of pedophilia they engaged in. i figure this pathetic social control construct is going to be a matter of evolution, not revolution

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