Iran Nuclear NewsIran faces 'tough decisions' at nuclear talks: Kerry

Iran faces ‘tough decisions’ at nuclear talks: Kerry


AFP: Iran has to take some “tough decisions” as world powers seek to hammer out a nuclear deal, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday with negotiations due to resume next week.


Washington (AFP) — Iran has to take some “tough decisions” as world powers seek to hammer out a nuclear deal, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday with negotiations due to resume next week.

His comments came as he was grilled by US lawmakers over the talks between Iran and the so-called P5+1 group, which are due to start up again in Vienna on Monday.

Under a six-month interim deal, Iran agreed to freeze its uranium enrichment program in return for sanctions relief worth some $6-7 billion, including the transfer of some $4.2 billion in frozen overseas funds.

Kerry insisted during a hearing of the Senate appropriations committee that Washington was testing whether the new Iranian leadership of President Hassan Rouhani was serious in reining in its nuclear program, which the West believes is a covert grab for an atomic bomb.

“We believe we’re heading in the right direction. I can’t tell you where it’s going to finally land, we don’t know,” Kerry said of the negotiations due to last for the next six months towards a comprehensive deal.

“There’s some very tough decisions the Iranians are going to have to make — very tough — in order to meet the international community’s standard for certainty as to the peacefulness of this program.”

But he hit back against criticism that Iran was now attracting cash-flow and business back to the country, and that the sanctions relief was being used to fund Hezbollah militants fighting in Syria.

The top US diplomat said he had contacted his counterparts around the world amid reports of trade delegations going to Iran.

“We have made it crystal clear that Iran is not open for business. They have accepted that,” Kerry said.

“They are not cutting deals. There are people who have traveled, but there have not been new deals.”

He stressed again that the tough sanctions regime put in place against Iran, which has brought its economy to its knees, had not been dismantled.

“Nothing in the architecture of the sanctions regime has been changed whatsoever. Iran’s economy contracted by 6 percent last year. It is expected to contract again this year. Inflation remains at almost 40 percent,” Kerry told lawmakers.

He also tussled with Republican Senator Mark Kirk, who suggested that with the sanctions relief Iran now had some $25 billion in liquid assets which it was using to boost payments to Hezbollah.

“I would expect that we would see even more terrorism with this additional money available to the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Kirk said.

But Kerry countered that Iran “has huge economic problems” and said around $15 billion to $30 billion of Iran’s earnings, mainly from oil revenues, was being siphoned away and frozen in overseas accounts.

“So they’re losing. They’re losing enormous sums of money and more than a hundred billion dollars that is now frozen.”

Latest news

To Stay in Power, Iran’s Regime Liquidates National Assets

For several decades, Iranian regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei has sold Iran's resources and wealth for the survival of...

Iran’s 2023 Budget Shrouded In Doubt

On January 22, the Majlis (parliament) approved the draft of the 2023 budget bill proposed by regime president Ebrahim...

Iran: People of Khoy Still Reeling From 5.9-Magnitude Earthquake

An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.9 struck northwest Iran on Saturday, killing at least three people and injuring...

Iran’s Unsolvable Air Pollution Problem

Air pollution will remain at dangerous levels and will increase for the next few days in most big cities,...

The World Must Acknowledge the Iranian People’s Right to Self-defense

Victor Hugo once said: “When dictatorship is a fact, revolution becomes a right.” Throughout history, this has been the...

Iran: 60% Of Population Is Poor

The livelihood baskets of the Iranian people are shrinking dramatically. This, in turn, has introduced new concerns to protect...

Must read

Lawmaker wary of China/Iran ties

Reuters: Wary that Chinese oil companies could be undermining...

Germany tells Iran: Stop enriching and we can talk

Reuters: Germany made clear to Iran on Saturday that...

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you