Kerry, Iranian Official Continue Discussions on Interim Deal

Jordain Carney, National Journal
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Jordain Carney, National Journal
Dec. 16, 2013, 9:02 a.m.

U.S. Sec­ret­ary of State John Kerry spoke with his Ir­a­ni­an coun­ter­part in search of a path for­ward on the in­ter­im nuc­le­ar deal reached last month.

A seni­or State De­part­ment of­fi­cial said on Monday that the week­end con­ver­sa­tion fo­cused on “the im­port­ance of mov­ing for­ward” on the agree­ment reached in Geneva and “main­tain­ing a con­struct­ive at­mo­sphere as the ne­go­ti­ations con­tin­ue.”

The talks — which took place dur­ing Kerry’s flight to Vi­et­nam — fol­low the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s an­nounce­ment last week that it was tar­get­ing more than a dozen in­di­vidu­als and com­pan­ies for al­legedly vi­ol­at­ing the sanc­tions against Ir­an. The de­cision bars the de­sign­ees from en­ga­ging in trans­ac­tions with U.S. in­di­vidu­als and al­lows the United States to freeze any as­sets cur­rently un­der its jur­is­dic­tion, as well as any that fall in­to its con­trol in the fu­ture.

Za­rif told the Wash­ing­ton Post that des­pite re­ports to the con­trary, the new des­ig­na­tions did not end the ne­go­ti­ations between Ir­an, the United States, the United King­dom, France, Ger­many, Rus­sia, and China over Ir­an’s nuc­le­ar pro­gram.

“As Mark Twain rightly poin­ted out, the news of their de­mise is greatly ex­ag­ger­ated,” he said. “I be­lieve we need to have a re­as­sess­ment of how we want to pro­ceed — every­body needs to do that — go back to the ne­go­ti­at­ing table with a view to re­mov­ing these obstacles and mov­ing for­ward.”

He ad­ded that he has also been in con­tact with of­fi­cials from oth­er coun­tries in­volved with the ne­go­ti­ations, as well as Cath­er­ine Ashton, the European Uni­on’s for­eign policy chief, on how to move for­ward.

This art­icle was pub­lished in Glob­al Se­cur­ity News­wire, which is pro­duced in­de­pend­ently by Na­tion­al Journ­al Group un­der con­tract with the Nuc­le­ar Threat Ini­ti­at­ive. NTI is a non­profit, non­par­tis­an group work­ing to re­duce glob­al threats from nuc­le­ar, bio­lo­gic­al, and chem­ic­al weapons.

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