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Tuesday 05 April 2016
Washington (CNN)The Obama administration warned of dire consequences Tuesday should the next occupant of the Oval Office scrap the Iran nuclear deal.
At a Capitol Hill hearing, a top State Department official pushed back at the Republican criticism in an effort to keep its hard-won implementation on track.
A decision to exit the deal could trigger Iran's return to its nuclear weapons program, Shannon said, a possibility that many analysts say could lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East as Tehran's regional rivals, such as Saudi Arabia, work to match it.
He also argued that stepping away from the deal would send ripples through close U.S. relationships as well.
Critics say that its time limits enable Iran to get a nuclear weapon in the next 10 to 15 years -- though the administration counters that without the deal, Iran could have gotten a nuclear bomb within months or a few years. Critics also point out that the agreement's enforcement mechanisms haven't prevented Iran from pernicious activity and that the deal has sparked public resistance in Israel, one of several skittish regional allies.
However, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, the other candidate seeking the GOP presidential nomination, has sounded a more moderate note, declining to say he would get rid of the deal.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, alternatively, said in July that the deal represented "a victory for diplomacy over saber-rattling."
Media reports had said the administration was considering easing financial restrictions that ban the use of U.S. dollars in trade with Iran. On Friday, President Barack Obama denied that, saying that the U.S. wasn't trying to facilitate dollar trade with Tehran.
Kerry was asked Tuesday morning on MSNBC why the administration approves of helping Iran get access to dollars or to get more investment.
"As Iran attempts to access money that is being made available to it, there will be instances in which we will have to help Iran by clarifying regulations under which money will be available to them," Shannon said. "There are banks that are unclear about the regulatory structures and what sanctions have been lifted or not."