Kerry: Relations with Iran can improve fast
US secretary of state says deal with Iran possible within months but stresses Tehran must prove US' allies in region 'will not be threatened by its nuclear program'

WASHINGTON – US Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that a deal on Iran's nuclear program might be achieved in less than three months. In an interview with CBS' 60 Minutes he said that it would depend on how forthcoming and clear Iran is prepared to be.


"We need a good deal and a good deal is that it is absolutely accountable, fail safe in its measures, to make certain it's a peaceful program, and we can all see that; the relationship with Iran can change dramatically for the better and it can change fast."  


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Asked what steps Iran could take to prove its seriousness, Kerry replied: "They could immediately open for inspection the Fordo facility, they could immediately sign the protocol of the international community regarding inspections, they could offer to cease voluntarily to take enrichment above a certain level."


He further added, "We have hopes but words are not going to replace actions, what we need are actions that prove that we and our allies and our friends in the region can never be threatened by this program.


Kerry on 60 Minutes


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Addressing the possibility of easing the crippling economic sanctions imposed on Iran, he said: "The US 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 doing with its program."


Discussing peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, Kerry said that the alternative to negotiations is unsustainable.


He further asserted that in this point in time, there aren’t many options left. Ultimately, Israel will not have security without peace, he said. He further argued that Israel cannot be the state it wants to be if it's a bi-national state with a population of people fighting for citizenship whose aspirations have not been met.


Addressing the Syrian issue, the secretary of state said: "Assad has to know that if he plays games and doesn't comply and if ultimately the Security Council gets stuck again and refuses to enforce, then the United States always preserves its prerogatives to its national security interests. "


Asked about the credibility of Obama's strike threat, he said: "I can assure you that the President of the United States is not going to take off the table unilaterally any prerogative that a commander in chief has and no one should doubt that.


"I believe that Assad has lost all moral authority by which any person governs a nation.


But faced with the fact that the US is now making a deal with Assad he noted: "There are two fundamental reasons why Assad made this deal: one is the threat of force by President Obama, and number two – the Russians. They made a huge difference here, we thank them and congratulate them."


Israeli diplomacy at the UN's General Assembly goes into high gear Monday as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heads to Washington to meet with President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. The meeting is set for 11:15 Washington time (6:15 pm Israel time).


The White House said that the leaders will discuss progress in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians and the latest developments in Iran and Syria.

Netanyahu will meet Kerry later in the day (10:30 pm Israel time) and will also attend a farewell ceremony for outgoing Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren.


The trip will culminate with Netanyahu's General Assembly address set for Tuesday (7 pm Israel time). He will then meet UN chief Ban K-moon.




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