US Secretary of State John Kerry told a Republican lawmaker on Tuesday he did not know whether Iran sought to destroy the United States. The exchange, during Kerry’s latest testimony to Congress on the July 14 nuclear accord between world powers and Iran, appeared to catch Kerry off-guard. “Is it the policy of the ayatollah, if you can answer for him, that Iran wants to destroy the United States?”

Texas Republican Lloyd “Ted” Poe asked Kerry during the latter’s Tuesday appearance before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “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.” “Well, I kind of take that to mean that they want us dead,” Poe replied. “That would seem like that would be their policy. He said that. You don’t think that’s their policy? I’m not mincing words. Do you think it’s their policy to destroy us?” MORE