Kerry defends Iran nuclear deal, says 'anytime-anywhere' inspections never on table

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Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday defended the nuclear deal he recently negotiated with Iran, refuting criticism it failed to include the promised “anywhere, anytime” facilities inspections.

“There is no such standard within arms control inspections,” Kerry told “Fox News Sunday.” “We never had a discussion about 'anywhere, anytime' managed access.”

He and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz argued that International Atomic Energy Agency inspections within 24 days of a request will be sufficient to detect nuclear activity.

“It’s virtually impossible to clean up that place,” Moniz told Fox News. “You can paint the floors. You can do what you want. We feel very confident that one would find the evidence of nuclear activity.”

Kerry also defended against criticism that he failed in negotiations to secure the return of three American citizens being held in Iran, particularly after Tehran got a last-minute request that an arms embargo be lifted.

“Every single meeting, everywhere in the world that ever took place with the Iranians, we have raised the issue of the American citizens,” Kerry said. “And we are working on the issue of the American citizens even now.”

Kerry said last week in announcing the deal that he addressed the plight of former Marine Amir Hekmati, Washington Post Iran bureau chief Jason Rezaian, Christian pastor Saeed Abedini and ex-FBI agent Robert Levinson.

Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, told Fox News last week that not making the prisoners’ freedom part of the deal was “unconscionable.”

Kerry said he and Moniz will go to Capitol Hill this week to try to get members to accept the deal, as Vice President Biden did last week.

“Hopefully, we'll be able to persuade enough people,’ Kerry said. “I hope there are enough minds still open, ready to consider this on its merits, that could be persuaded. And we're going to work very hard.”