Kerry: Job on Iran Pact Just Beginning

Kerry: Job on Iran Pact Just BeginningKerry: Job on Iran Pact Just Beginning

The matter of the Iran nuclear deal is not over and done with and in fact, with the pact expected to go into effect in a few months, the job is just beginning, the US secretary of state said on Sunday.

The agreement, completed on July 14 in Vienna, emerged from nearly two years of negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany).


"It was a terrific multilateral effort. We –all of us– were surprised by the amount of time we wound up spending in Vienna, but the results are indeed very important to the world, and we will now be vigilant going forward with respect to the issue of implementation," John Kerry said in a joint press conference with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin.

"It is critical, and no one is simply going to turn away and say oh, the job is done. The job is not done. The job in many ways is beginning," Kerry added, according to a transcript of his remarks posted on the website of the US Department of State.

***Historic Moment

Describing the "signing ceremony" of the pact as a "genuine historic moment," Steinmeier said it has yet to be seen whether the Vienna agreement will usher in a turning point in efforts to restore peace and stability to the region, which has long been plagued by conflicts and war.

"We have entered the stage where we have to closely check whether all parties involved, especially Iran, comply with the commitments they entered into."

Referring to the Syria crisis which has left over 200,000 people dead and millions displaced, the top German diplomat noted that addressing the situation in the war-torn Arab country demands a collective effort by the international community, especially the countries involved, to agree on a common approach, ignoring "narrow national interests."

"Of course, we have to believe – both of us, we all – that the civil war in Syria can only come to an end and be brought to an end if a common diplomatic effort is undertaken by all of us…. We have to put aside narrow national interests for the time being."

"We can only succeed in doing so if the international community quite clearly and with the involvement of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Russia, if all those involved adopt a common position and a common approach."

***Zarif-Kerry Meeting

The West has insisted that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad step down as part of any solution.

In reference to his remarks the previous day that Russia and Iran could help persuade Assad to negotiate an end to the conflict, Kerry was asked whether a meeting on the sidelines of the upcoming UN General Assembly in New York was planned to discuss the matter.   

He said, "We're going to have a number of meetings… I will also be meeting with [Russian] Foreign Minister Lavrov in New York… and with Foreign Minister [Mohammad Javad] Zarif regarding Iran and other things."

Kerry had said after talks with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond in London on Saturday that "Assad has to go."

However, he added the "modality" and "timing" of his departure were a matter for discussion.

"We need to get to the negotiation. That is what we're looking for and we hope Russia and Iran, and any other countries with influence, will help to bring about that, because that's what is preventing this crisis from ending," he said, NBC News reported.