Newscast Media STOCKHOLM—Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, on a visit to
Tehran, said he believes a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran is possible
within six months.
“I’m convinced, if there is goodwill on both sides, a deal is possible within the very
ambitious time frame of six months,” Bildt said. “It’s not going to be easy and it
requires a genuine will for compromises on both sides. But I think the benefits that
are there for both sides are so obvious that everyone should focus minds on actually
Talking to journalists alongside his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Bildt
added that it is up to Iran to prove the peaceful nature of its nuclear program.
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Newscast Media GENEVA—The Obama administration is encouraged by Iran’s stated desire to improve relations with the international community, and it is seeking to “test those assurances” in talks taking place in Geneva.
Speaking to reporters in Geneva October 14, a senior administration official who asked not to be identified said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had indicated he would be presenting a detailed proposal concerning Iran’s uranium-enrichment program, which the international community has long believed is part of a larger program for the manufacture of nuclear weapons.
“We are ready to hear it, to listen to it, and to go to work, if it is substantive and concrete,” the official said.
“We will be looking for specific steps that address core issues, such as the pace and scope of its enrichment program, the transparency of its overall nuclear program, and its stockpiles of enriched uranium. In essence, we’re looking for confidence-building measures that begin to address some of our priority concerns on the way to a comprehensive agreement,” the official said.
Zarif and officials from the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany are holding two days of discussions on Iran’s nuclear future. The negotiating group is known as the P5+1 because it includes the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany.
The standoff over Iran’s nuclear activities “is not just about the U.S. and Iran; this is about the international community and Iran,” the official said.
The P5+1 is seeking an agreement that will resolve the world’s concerns over Iran’s nuclear program, including compliance with its responsibilities under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and U.N. Security Council resolutions, but that also respects “the rights of the Iranian people to access peaceful nuclear energy.”
The international community has responded to Iran’s nuclear program with economic sanctions. The official said sanctions “can be addressed if Iran addresses all of our concerns and all of their obligations and responsibilities under the NPT and U.N. Security Council resolutions.”
Because of the complexity of the issues being discussed, the official said, it is unlikely that an agreement will be reached in the two days of talks.
“But if we can begin to move forward in a way that we have not been able to up until now, then we will begin to see actions that match the tone and the words,” the official said.
“The history of mistrust is very deep. But we have to start somewhere. We hope we can start here,” the official said.