PHOTO: US Secretary of State John Kerry holds a press conference on Thursday
US Secretary of State John Kerry has indicated that implementation of Iran’s nuclear deal with the 5+1 Powers will be unaffected by the dispute between Tehran and Saudi Arabia.
Kerry told reporters on Thursday that Iran may be “days away” from verification of its compliance with last July’s agreement.
Kerry said he spoke earlier in the day with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who was clear that the Islamic Republic intends to satisfy their nuclear obligations “as rapidly as possible”.
He did not link the nuclear issue with the Iranian-Saudi crisis, in which Riyadh has broken relations with Tehran. Instead, he said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir each assured him that the differences would not interfere with international talks on the Syrian civil war.
The Rouhani Government is hoping for the International Atomic Energy Agency’s verification this month, paving the way for the US and the European Union to lift sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy.
Kerry said the Obama administration is “prepared to move on that day”. He praised Iranian compliance through the movement of almost all of its enriched uranium outside the country.
Last week, the deal faced a complication when the US signaled it might impose new sanctions over Iran’s testing of ballistic missiles. President Rouhani responded by ordering the Defense Ministry to expedite the testing.
However, the US pulled back from imposition of the additional sanctions and Kerry made no reference to them on Thursday.