Publishe Date: 5:31 PM - 9/27/2013 | Print

US may begin lifting Iran sanctions in months: Kerry

Politics - US Secretary of State John Kerry says Washington could begin removing bans on Tehran within months if a “transparent process is in place” over Iran’s nuclear energy program.

Speaking to CBS News flagship 60 Minutes on Thursday, Kerry said the sanctions could be eased if Iran takes rapid measures to cooperate with the international monitoring of its nuclear energy program.

He said that Iran should, for example, reduce the level of its uranium enrichment.

"The United States is not going to lift the sanctions until it is clear that a very verifiable, accountable, transparent process is in place, whereby we know exactly what Iran is going be doing with its program," he said.

His comments came following a Thursday meeting between Iran and the six major world powers in New York over Tehran’s nuclear energy program.

Kerry described the meeting as constructive, but said "there's a lot of work to be done" with questions still remaining about Iran's nuclear energy program.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also praised the talks as "very good and substantive" and said the result would have to include "a total lifting" of all sanctions against Iran.

“We hope to be able to make progress to solve this issue in a timely fashion [and] to make sure [there is] no concern that Iran's program is anything but peaceful," he added.

After the meeting, EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton appreciated Zarif’s positive approach, saying, "It was a substantial meeting, good atmosphere, energetic. We had a discussion about how we would forward with an ambitious timeframe to see if we could make progress quickly."

"We have agreed to meet in Geneva on the 15 and 16 of October to pursue the agenda, to carry on from today's meeting and to hopefully move this process forward," she stated.

The United States, Israel and some of their allies have repeatedly accused Iran of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program, with the US and European Union using the claim as an excuse to impose illegal sanctions against Tehran. The bans come on top of four rounds of US-instigated UN Security Council sanctions against Iran under the same pretext.

Iran has categorically rejected the allegation, stressing that as a committed member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, it is entitled to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

The IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence showing that the Iranian nuclear energy program has been diverted toward military objectives.

 

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