Davos 2016: John Kerry, Remarks at the World Economic Forum


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Compare that to where we are today. Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, every single one of Iran’s pathways to a bomb is blocked – its uranium pathway, its plutonium pathway, its covert pathway – blocked. Due to massive cuts in its uranium stockpile – about 98 percent, may I say – and reductions in its enrichment capacity – all of which, by the way, Iran agreed to – the country’s so-called breakout time has now stretched from two months to 12 months or more for at least a decade, while we build confidence, while we build accountability. And there’ll be 130 additional IAEA inspectors in Iran – 24/7, 365 – to make sure that that holds true.

Now, before the talks started, the idea – the IAEA was unable to get answers to its questions. That’s why we had sanctions. That’s why we were in confrontation. It did not have assured access to investigate locations at which undeclared nuclear activities might be carried out. Today, the IAEA put in place every one of the extensive transparency and verification measures called for in the JCPOA. And because of the unprecedented monitoring and verification requirements that are an integral part of the plan, the world can now be confident of precisely what Iran is doing.

For Iran to break out secretly, its technicians would have to do more than bury a processing facility deep beneath the ground. They would have to come up with a complete – from start to finish – nuclear supply chain. And our experts agree that they could not do that undetected. And although some of the specific limitations in the plan apply for 10 years, some for 15 years, some for 20 years, some for 25 years – uranium from the mine to the mill to the yellowcake to the centrifuge to the waste, through the full cycle, will be monitored for 25 years. But more importantly, all of the expanded monitoring and verification provisions that now exist within the IAEA because of the mistakes that were made in North Korea are now in effect for the lifetime – the lifetime – of Iran’s nuclear program. And Iran has agreed to never, ever pursue a nuclear weapon, and that is codified in the United Nations Security Council resolution as well as in the agreement itself.

My friends, the region is safer. The world is safer.

Last December, representatives from more than 190 nations came together in Paris to express their commitment to build a low-carbon energy future in which greenhouse gas emissions are curbed and the worst consequences of climate change are prevented. We’ve been working on that for 20-plus years. I was in Rio 1992, part of the delegation with Al Gore and Tim Wirth and a bunch of people many of you know. But it was voluntary; we weren’t able to get there. We went through machinations of Kyoto and other efforts. Finally, we came together in a unique, extraordinary multilateral event.

  • More than two-and-a-half billion people have gained access to clean water in the last years, and the number of people living in extreme poverty has declined by more than one-half.

Three years ago, when I first became Secretary of State, we were living with the experience of the failure of Copenhagen and the problem of China being on the other side of the ledger. President Obama asked me to go to Beijing and open up a new collaboration, if it was possible, on climate change. Everybody was skeptical. But we built a strong working relationship, and in the end, our two presidents – President Xi and President Obama – were able to stand up in Beijing a year before Paris and make an historic announcement that changed the entire dynamic of the negotiations in Paris.

We were determined to turn a corner after decades of a policy that just simply didn’t work. You know the old saying, the first way to solve the problem of digging a hole deeper and deeper is stop digging. But we have a long way to go, we know, but we’re already seeing progress.

Last year, travel by Cuba – to Cuba by United States citizens to deepen the ties between our people increased by more than 50 percent over the previous year. We have further empowered a growing Cuban private sector that now employs thousands of Cuban workers. And the Government of Cuba signed its first cellular telephone roaming agreement with a United States company that will help Cubans connect to the world and access information. And every one of you here knows that helps change – changes thinking, changes behavior.

Now, of course the United States and Cuba still remain far apart on some very important issues. But we are much closer than we were in our ability to be able to address those differences in a systematic and mutually respectful way. I talked to my counterpart, Bruno Rodriguez, the other day. We will meet again shortly to talk about those other differences and to continue to try to march down this road

  • Because of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action whose implementation we formally certified this past weekend, Iran’s path to building a bomb has been closed off, and an additional source of danger in the Middle East has been removed

In October, after seven years of negotiation, the United States joined 11 other nations along the Pacific Rim in signing and sending to Congress the Trans-Pacific Partnership – a trade agreement that will ensure heightened labor and environmental standards in 40 percent of the global economy. And already, other nations in the region are beating on the door and saying, “We want to be part of that. We want to be part of these higher standards and environmentally responsible, labor responsible business enterprises.”

At this time last year – I remember this, because we talked about it here – experts were predicting that the Ebola virus was going to kill a million people or more by Christmas of last year. Again, President Obama led an effort at the United Nations to bring people together. He took the risky decision without knowing all of the consequences and all of what was happening, but on the basis of our health care expert advice – we sent several thousand American troops and put them on the ground to build the capacity to be able to respond to this crisis. And together with partners around the world – France, Great Britain particularly, but China, Japan, others all joined in – we built a broad coalition of actors to educate the public, isolate the stricken, and stop the spread of the virus – spelling the difference between life and death for hundreds of thousands of people.

And in response to the global refugee crisis, President Obama is going to host a summit at the UN this fall. And the summit will be the culmination of a sustained, rigorous effort to rally the world community on several fronts to increase by 30 percent the response to humanitarian funding appeals; the number of regular humanitarian donors, to increase it by at least 10; to at least double the number of refugees who are resettled or afforded other safe and legal channels of admission; to expand by 10 the total number of countries admitting refugees; and to get a million children in school and a million people working legally

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