Kerry Hopeful About P5+1 Talks

Kerry Hopeful About P5+1 Talks Kerry Hopeful About P5+1 Talks

US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday he was hopeful about nuclear negotiations with Iran but that he did not wish to convey optimism ahead of a June 30 deadline for a deal.

“I am always hopeful. Yes, I am hopeful, but I am not conferring optimism,” Kerry told journalists, Reuters reported.

Kerry flew to Vienna on Friday to join negotiators from Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) seeking an agreement under which Tehran would restrict its nuclear program for a specified period of time in exchange for relief from economic sanctions that have negatively affected its economy.

Previewing the trip, a senior US official told reporters US negotiators could see a way to a “very good agreement” but that it remained to be seen whether a pact would be reached.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said all nations involved in the talks were committed to the self-imposed June 30 deadline but it could slip “by a short bit” if necessary to get the substance of any agreement right.

The United States and some of its allies claim Iran may have used its civil nuclear program as a cover to develop a nuclear weapons capability. Iran denies the allegation and says its program is solely for peaceful purposes such as electricity generation.

The two main sticking points are the timing and scope of sanctions relief and a monitoring and verification system to check Iran’s compliance with the terms of the prospective accord.   “Despite these tough issues, we can truly see a path forward that gets us to a very good agreement here,” the senior US official told reporters during a conference call.