Baku, Azerbaijan, June 5
By Dalga Khatinoglu - Trend:
The U.S. State Department's Persian-speaking spokesman Alan Eyre said that still some serious work needs to be done in order to achieve a comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran.
"The six-month interim deal was an important step. But it was only a first step. It's a good sign that all the involved parties are fulfilling their commitments according to the deal", Eyre told Trend on June 4.
He went on to note that the only important thing is that before the six month period ends (July 20) the two sides reach a comprehensive agreement.
It should be noted that in November 2013, Iran and the P5+1 (five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the U.S., China, Russia, France and the UK - plus Germany) signed an interim nuclear deal in Geneva that came into force on January 20. The deal (the Joint Plan of Action) stipulates that over the course of six months, Iran and the six countries will draw up a comprehensive nuclear deal which will lead to a lifting of all the sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
"As the US President Barack Obama said in his speech at West Point, for the first time in the past decade we have an opportunity to reach an important agreement with Iran. But still some serious work needs to be done in order to achieve that goal," Alan Eyre underlined.
While responding to a question about materialization of the global community's expectations from Iran in the framework of the interim deal, the spokesman said that all the involved parties are fulfilling their commitments, which is a good sign.
"But we should never think that reaching a comprehensive deal is an easy task. Iran needs to take hard decisions in order to gain the trust of the global community in regards to the nature of its nuclear program," Eyre explained.
"Our goal is to prevent Iran from building an atomic bomb, and Tehran says it doesn't want to build such a bomb, so I hope we can reach a comprehensive deal by July 20," he added.
The spokesman also emphasized that Washington will do its best to make it happen.
Commenting on the possibility of reaching a new agreement in the upcoming negotiations he remarked that "as the saying goes, 'Man lives by hope.' Our goal is to reach a new agreement before the end of the six-month period. But we didn't have fruitful talks in Vienna in the last round of negotiations."
Eyre also noted that there is still a huge gap between the two sides' stances and expressed concerns about running out of time.
There are both supporters and critics of any comprehensive agreement, both inside Iran and the United States, he said.
He also remarked that in case of reaching a comprehensive agreement which serves the U.S. goal of not letting Iran build an atomic weapon, the US administration will be able to satisfy its critics.
The official underlined that the United States' goal is that all the parties follow the difficult negotiations seriously, with mutual respect, and good intention so that a comprehensive deal is reached before July 20.
Eyre quoted Obama's recent comments in which he put the chance of success in the case very low, adding that "for the first time in the past decade, we have an opportunity to reach an important agreement with Iran and we need to use this rare opportunity."
Tehran and the six world powers have been discussing ways to iron out differences and start drafting a final deal on Tehran's disputed nuclear program.
The two sides wrapped up their latest round of high-level nuclear talks in the Austrian capital Vienna on May 16 without any result. After the unsuccessful negotiations the two sides held an extra-ordinary non-official meeting in Istanbul later in May.
The U.S. and its Western allies suspect Iran of developing a nuclear weapon - something that Iran denies. The Islamic Republic has on numerous occasions stated that it does not seek to develop nuclear weapons, using nuclear energy for medical research instead.
Iran's missile program
Senior Iranian officials have repeatedly announced that they will not negotiate over the country's defense system including the missile power with the P5+1 group.
Alan Eyre explained that Iran's military program in not included in the negotiation's agenda.
"Nobody has ever said that Iran's military program needs to be on the agenda of the nuclear talks," he said.
Meanwhile Abbas Araqchi, Iran's top nuclear negotiator and deputy foreign minister said on May 21 that the other side insists on putting the issue of Iranian missiles on the agenda of the nuclear talks.
It's written in the text of the interim deal that "between the first and final steps, there would be several other steps discussing different issues such as the Security Council's resolutions in order to reach a desirable conclusion for them.", Eyre said.
The spokesman went on to note that one of the UN Security Council's resolutions is about any "missile capable of carrying atomic warheads."