Any progress in the nuclear talks underway with Iran will depend on “the seriousness of the Iranians,” a White House spokesperson said Thursday.
“We have long wanted, with our international partners and a basically united international community, to resolve this issue with Iran,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said at a press briefing. “And resolving it requires Iran to, in a verifiable way, give up its nuclear weapons program and its nuclear weapons ambitions. How long that process might take depends entirely on the level of seriousness and cooperation that the Iranians display through substantive conversations.”
The comments came just hours before a meeting Thursday at UN Headquarters in New York between the foreign minister of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany with their Iranian counterpart Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
The United States is “not expecting any breakthrough in this initial meeting, but I think that this is part of us testing the seriousness of the Iranians,” Carney said. He added that the Iranians “are obviously engaging in new overtures and showing new interest in trying to resolve this very serious matter and this conflict that they have had with the international community for so long — a conflict that has resulted in uniting the international community around the idea that Iran cannot be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon, and uniting the international community behind a sanctions regime against Iran that has clearly had profound effects on the Iranian economy and that in no small measure is the reason why we have seen this new interest from Tehran in trying to resolve the problem.”
Carney emphasized that the US did not have a “timeline” for the talks, “but I think that we hope and expect to see progress if Iran is serious and the new government is serious about making progress.”