|Kerry says there is time to resolve Iran nuclear issue if Iranians are serious||
TEHRAN – There is time to resolve the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program providing that the Iranians are serious, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in Riyadh on Monday.
“There is time to resolve this issue providing the Iranians are prepared to engage seriously” on proposals to defuse it, said Kerry, who was meeting in the Saudi Arabian capital with the foreign ministers of Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman as well as the Saudi crown prince and foreign minister, AP reported.
“But talks will not go on for the sake of talks and talks cannot become an instrument for delay that will make the situation more dangerous,” he said in reference to the negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) over Tehran’s nuclear program.
The latest round of talks between Iran and the six major powers were held in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on February 26 and 27. They agreed to meet in the same city for further negotiations on April 5 and 6.
According to the New York Times, in Almaty the major powers dropped their demand that Iran shut down its underground uranium-enrichment plant at Fordo, and insisted instead that Iran suspend enrichment work there and agree to unspecified conditions that would make it hard to quickly resume production. They also said that Iran could continue to produce and keep a small amount of uranium enriched to 20 percent for use in a research reactor that produces medical isotopes.
If Tehran agreed to these steps, the major powers said they would suspend some sanctions against Iran, including trade in gold and petrochemicals, and would not impose new sanctions through the United Nations Security Council and the European Union. The main oil and financial sanctions would not be loosened.
Kerry said that he and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal “discussed our shared determination to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.”
According to AP, Saud said that Saudi Arabia “supports the efforts to resolve the crisis diplomatically in order to alleviate all doubts surrounding the program.”
“Therefore, we hope that the negotiations will result in putting an end to this problem rather than containing it,” he said, “taking into account that the clock is ticking and negotiations cannot go on forever.”
In addition, Reuters quoted the U.S. secretary of state as saying during a joint press conference with his Saudi Arabian counterpart on Monday that “there is a finite amount of time” to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue.
According to the report, Prince Saud suggested that the Iranians did not show enough seriousness in the Almaty talks.
“We can’t be like philosophers who keep talking… We have to talk seriously and honestly and we have to put in our commitment clearly on the table,” he said.
“Negotiations cannot go on forever,” he added.
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