US Secretary of State John Kerry (AP/Andrew Harnik) (AP/Andrew Harnik)
john kerry
Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (AP/Vahid Salemi)

Secretary of State John Kerry dismissed concerns in the House of Representatives that Iran is out to destroy the US despite Iranian statements calling for “Death to America.”

US Secretary of State John Kerry told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that he was unaware of any Iranian plans to destroy the United States, but he conceded that Iran may support terrorists who target Americans or Israelis.

The sole objective of the Iranian nuclear deal, Kerry emphasized, is to prevent the Islamic Republic from developing nuclear weapons and not to address Iranian support for terrorism.

Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX), chairman of the Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade Subcommittee, asked, “Is it the policy of the ayatollah, if you can answer for him, that Iran wants to destroy the United States? Is that still their policy, as far as you know?”

Kerry responded, “I don’t believe they’ve said that. I think they’ve said ‘Death to America’ in their chants, but I have not seen this specific.”

Pressed on the issue, Kerry added, “I think they have a policy of opposition to us and a great enmity, but I have no specific knowledge of a plan by Iran to actually destroy us. I do know that the rhetoric is — is beyond objectionable. I know that we, you know, are deeply concerned with Iran’s behavior in the region, deeply concerned with their past activities.”

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) asked about a statement by Basij militia commander Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naghdi, who said that “Israel’s destruction is non-negotiable.”

“I don’t think it’s possible for Iran to do that,” Kerry responded. “There is no presumption in here about what Iran will or won’t do. There is one objective. Make sure they can’t get a nuclear weapon.”

As for the possibility that Iran could use funds freed up by the removal of sanctions for terrorism against the US or Israel, Kerry said, “We have no way to know. I presume in some places possibly, only in the sense that they are committed to certain things that we interpret as terrorism, they don’t, and we’re going to continue to conflict on those issues.”

By: Sara Abramowicz, United with Israel

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