|‘U.S. sanctions relief possible for Iran in the future’||
TEHRAN – Ahead of a possible meeting between the U.S. and Iran, the two nations are moving in a new direction, and as their relationship changes and trust builds, the U.S. might approve sanctions relief, editor-at-large of Atlantic magazine, Steven Clemons, told RT.
The trust building process between Iran and the U.S. “ultimately will lead to some sanctions relief, but I think Washington wants to see some harder commitments on processing, both inspection and verification, and on a deal of what could be achieved in moving Iran to a lower kind of processing capacity than it has today,” Clemons said.
Following are excerpts of the text of the interview published on Saturday:
RT: What do you expect from the meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, if it happens of course?
Steven Clemons: … We've been here before with President Khatami and Bill Clinton. They both tried very hard to bring along their governments and they tried to think along the normalization track. … if the presidents actually meet, it's hugely significant but it doesn't deliver the final deal. There’s going to be a lot of work, a lot of trust building. I think we have a long way to go. Of course the most important person in this is the Supreme Leader… These are promising steps. I think the appointment of (Mohammad) Javad Zareef is extremely important, many of us know him… and the fact that he has been resurrected - brought back and elevated to this position - is a sign that something is different in Tehran's calculations about Washington today.
RT: Do you think Iran will convince the U.S. to reconsider its policy of sanctions?
SC: I don't think you'll see any easing in the near term… You may have some trust building steps that Iran initiates something and that the U.S. does something and then in the second round you could see some symbolic shifting of sanctions. And that's part of what you were just mentioning with some prisoners' releases, that this may be part of trust building process. Ultimately it will lead to some sanctions relief, but I think Washington wants to see some harder commitments on processing, both inspection and verification, and on a deal of what could be achieved in moving Iran to a lower kind of processing capacity than it has today.
RT: Many hope relations will improve - but the U.S. has announced plans to seize an Iranian building in New York because it allegedly breached sanctions - what do you make of the timing?
SC: I guess one of the things about what may happen with this property and the potential violation of the sanctions is on a separate track from a potentially interesting diplomatic track. The timing is bad but I don't think the issue of the New York building will be definitive in any way or derail the enthusiasm and real interest and curiosity in Rouhani, who will be meeting with a great number of Americans at a number of dinners which the Iranian embassy in New York will be hosting. While it looks significant, I think it actually is not.
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