Kerry says Iran sanctions could be eased in months

Kerry says Iran sanctions could be eased in months

US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives at a meeting about Iran's nuclear programme on 26  September  2013 in New York (AFP Photo)

US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives at a meeting about Iran’s nuclear programme on 26 September 2013 in New York (AFP Photo)

AFP – US Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday that if Iran takes rapid measures to cooperate with international monitoring of its nuclear programme, Washington could begin lifting sanctions within months.

Speaking to CBS News flagship 60 Minutes he said Iran should, for example, open up its Fordow underground nuclear facility to international inspection and undertake to scale down the level to which it enriches uranium.

“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 programme,” he said.

But, asked by his interviewer whether Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had been right to predict that a deal could be in place within three to six months, Kerry replied: “Sure, it’s possible.”

“It’s possible to have a deal sooner than that depending on how forthcoming and clear Iran is prepared to be,” he said, according to a transcript provided by CBS.

Kerry’s comments were broadcast after a day in which he had held a rare — almost unprecedented — encounter with his Iranian opposite number Mohammad Javad Zarif, and both took part in a meeting of the P5+1 Iran contact group.

Zarif and Rouhani were in New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly and repeated their insistence that Iran has no intention of developing nuclear weapons.

The P5+1 talks are set to continue on October 15 and 16 in Geneva, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told reporters after Thursday’s talks.

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