US Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday that if Iran takes rapid measures to cooperate with international monitoring of its nuclear program, Washington could begin lifting sanctions within months, CBS News reported.
Speaking to CBS News flagship 60 Minutes, he said Iran should, for example, open up its Fordow underground nuclear facility to international inspection and undertake to scale down the level to which it enriches uranium.
"The United States 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 going be doing with its program," he said.
But, asked by his interviewer whether Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had been right to predict that a deal could be in place within three to six months, Kerry replied: "Sure, it's possible."
"It's possible to have a deal sooner than that depending on how forthcoming and clear Iran is prepared to be," he said, according to a transcript provided by CBS.
Kerry's comments were broadcast after a day in which he had held a rare - almost unprecedented - encounter with his Iranian opposite number Mohammad Javad Zarif, and both took part in a meeting of the P5+1 Iran contact group.
Zarif and Rouhani were in New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly and repeated their insistence that Iran has no intention of developing nuclear weapons.
The P5+1 talks are set to continue on October 15 and 16 in Geneva, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told reporters after Thursday's talks.
Meanwhile, President Hassan Rouhani said Thursday that Iran was committed to negotiate on its nuclear program in "good faith" after the highest-level talks yet held with world powers.
"We are fully prepared to seriously engage in the process toward a negotiated and mutually agreeable settlement and do so in good faith and with a business-like mind," Rouhani told a think tank forum in New York.
He addressed the Asia Society and Council on Foreign Relations soon after his foreign minister held talks with major powers at the United Nations in the highest-level contact ever between the United States and Iran over its nuclear program.
"We hope that this positive sep that has been taken as a first solid and strong step will help us continue talks," Rouhani said.
Asked about his recent remarks to The Washington Post that he wanted a deal within months, Rouhani said: "The sooner the better."
"We think that a speedy settlement will support both sides," he said.
Follow us on Twitter @TRENDNewsAgency