August 6, 2015 / 3:16 AM / 2 years ago

Kerry says Hiroshima anniversary shows importance of Iran deal

A boy holds a paper lantern in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome during a procession commemorating the victims of the atomic bombing in Hiroshima, western Japan, August 5, 2015. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday the 70th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of the Japanese city of Hiroshima underscored the importance of a deal reached on Iran’s nuclear program last month.

Ceremonies were held in Hiroshima on Thursday to mark the anniversary of the world’s first atomic bombing. The city’s mayor, Kazumi Matsui, urged that nuclear weapons be abolished and demanded the creation of security systems that do not rely on military might.

Asked at the start of a meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida on the sidelines of a regional meeting in Malaysia whether he had any thoughts about the significance of the anniversary, Kerry replied:

“It is impossible not to have thoughts about it. I watched the ceremony ... Needless to say, it is a very, very powerful reminder of not just the impact of war lasting today on people and countries but it also underscores the importance of the agreement we have reached with Iran to reduce the possibility of more nuclear weapons.”

Kerry said the anniversary also emphasized the importance of work by the United States with other countries, particularly Russia, to reduce the number of existing nuclear weapons.

Under a July 14 pact with Iran, the United States and world powers agreed to lift sanctions in return for curbs on a nuclear program the West suspects was aimed at developing the means to build an atomic bomb.

American Republicans have objected to the deal as not tough enough to prevent Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon in the long run and the U.S. Congress has until Sept. 17 to accept or reject the agreement.

The U.S. bombing of Hiroshima, which killed 140,000 people by the end of 1945, was followed by the atomic bombing of Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945, which killed about 40,000 instantly.

World War Two ended on Aug. 15.

Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Dean Yates

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