Foreign Minister: Iran nuclear deal possible in six months
Earnest February 4, 2014
Media STOCKHOLM—Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, on a visit to Tehran, said he
believes a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran is possible within
"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 achieving it."
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.
"Needless to say, we respect the right of Iran to a peaceful nuclear
energy program," Bildt said. "Sweden has one. But it is up to Iran,
within the talks, to agree on the modalities to make certain there is
complete international confidence in this."
Zarif said in Berlin on February 3 that he, too, believed a final deal was possible within six months.
Iran clinched the interim deal in November with the P5+1 group—Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States, plus Germany—under
which it agreed to curb its controversial nuclear activities in
exchange for sanctions relief.
"There has been some sanctions relief. I think that's important," Bildt
said. "I think it's very important now, and I take it for granted that
will happen, according to the agreement [regarding] the sanctions
relief, that Iran will respect its obligations and that this will
provide the opportunity for moving forward with the comprehensive deal
and also more comprehensive dealing with the sanctions issue."
U.S. officials confirmed on February that Iran has received $550 million
in previously frozen funds — the first tranche from a $4.2 billion
total that Tehran will receive as part of the deal.
The six-month interim deal, which took effect January 20, is intended to
buy time to negotiate a comprehensive accord that would reassure
Western powers that Iran's nuclear program is entirely peaceful, as
Tehran has long maintained.
Negotiations are expected to resume in Vienna on February 18.Add