U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said an offer to negotiate with Iran about its nuclear program is limited in time and warned about the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the Middle East.
Kerry said confronting the Iranian nuclear program remains “the most urgent” priority and that the talks offer was not open-ended. Negotiations between six world powers and Iran were held in Almaty, Kazakhstan on Feb. 26 and 27 without concrete results. The discussions are slated to continue on a technical level in Istanbul before resuming in Kazakhstan on April 5.
“It is absolutely not unlimited,” Kerry said of the negotiations. “Talks will not go on for the sake of talks.”
World powers led by the U.S. are seeking a deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program, which they say may have a secret military dimension, in return for the removal of economic sanctions imposed because of illicit atomic work. The stakes are high as both the U.S. and Israel have said that military action is possible to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Iran says its program is for civilian energy and medical research.
International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano said today in Vienna that greater efforts must be made to reach a deal.
“Negotiations must proceed with a sense of urgency and a focus on achieving concrete results in the near term,” Amano said. ‘I request Iran once again to provide access to the Parchin site without further delay.’’
Kerry stressed the danger of nuclear proliferation and the destabilizing effect on the Middle East if Iran gains a nuclear weapons capability. “The road to a world with less nuclear weapons does not lead through a nuclear Iran,” he said during a conference in Riyadh today with his Saudi counterpart Prince Saud al-Faisal. “The threat isn’t just of a nuclear bomb, but of a dirty bomb.”
The Iranians continue to negotiate even as they work to build an atomic weapon, Prince Saud said during the conference. The talks must not drag on, he said.
“We can’t be like philosophers who keep talking about how many angels a pinhead can hold,” Prince Saud said.
To contact the reporters on this story: Nicole Gaouette in Washington at email@example.com; Deema Almashabi in Riyadh at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at email@example.com