Kerry: Nuclear Settlement Closer Than Ever

Kerry: Nuclear Settlement Closer Than Ever
Kerry: Nuclear Settlement Closer Than Ever

Iran and the major powers are closer than ever to a deal that would end the 12-year standoff over Tehran’s nuclear program, though more tough negotiations lie ahead, US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday.

Kerry was speaking at the United Nations on the opening day of the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).  

“I want you to know the hard work is far from over and some key issues remain unresolved,” Kerry told the NPT parties, adding, “But we are, in fact, closer than ever to the good, comprehensive deal that we have been seeking, and if we can get there, the entire world will be safer,” according to a transcript of his remarks posted on the website of the US State Department.

The Iranian and US delegations held a meeting on the sidelines of the conference at the residence of Permanent Ambassador to the United Nations Gholamali Khoshroo as part of a new round of nuclear negotiations, the first face-to-face encounter between Kerry and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif since the recent marathon talks in Lausanne, Switzerland. Deputy Foreign Ministers Abbas Araqchi and Majid Takht-Ravanchi, Khoshroo and US Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman were among the officials attending the meeting.  In the meeting, Kerry stressed that despite its domestic issues, the US administration would remain committed to its undertakings under a prospective final deal, whose details are set to be worked out by a July 30 deadline, after the parties to the nuclear talks reached an understanding on the outline of the deal in Lausanne earlier this month.

“We discussed how to proceed with the talks and we shared our concerns over the issues raised in the United State (on the final deal) with the American officials,” Zarif told reporters in a press conference after the meeting, adding, “The US secretary of state reiterated that his country would adhere to its international commitments, regardless of its internal problems,” IRNA reported.  

   Deal Drafting Resumes

Noting that drafting the deal is a “time-consuming task”, Zarif said, “The two sides, however, agreed to allow the time required to continue expert discussions at the level of ministers, political directors and experts.” Writing the text of the final deal started in the most recent round of negotiations in Vienna last week, which, according to Zarif, is scheduled to resume today, when the political directors from the other five parties, namely Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia, will join the talks.

“We hope to resume drafting the text on Wednesday, which is expected to continue into the next week,” the chief negotiator announced, adding that negotiations will progress in this manner “until the final text is completed.”