November 11, 2013
US Secretary of State John Kerry countered claims France had
torpedoed nuclear talks with Iran, saying the six world powers “signed
off” on a deal, but Iran wasn’t ready to accept it. Tehran and the UN
nuclear watchdog agreed on a roadmap for cooperation.
Kerry delivered his comments in Abu Dhabi on Monday following rampant
speculation behind why marathon talks between the P5+1 – the United
States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany – and Iran on
Saturday failed to produce an agreement.
Speaking to reporters, Kerry said the major powers were “unified
on Saturday when we presented a proposal to the Iranians, and the French
signed off on it, we signed off on it, and everybody agreed it was a
fair proposal. There was unity, but Iran couldn’t take it at that
particular moment, they weren’t able to accept that particular thing.”
Kerry added that the US was ”not (in) a race” to complete
talks with Iran on its uranium enrichment program, reaffirming
Washington’s commitment to defend its allies and not undermine ties with
Kerry officially confirmed Western diplomatic chatter on Sunday that
contrary to widespread speculation, France was not responsible for
scuttling the talks.
In the talks, France insisted that any agreement must entail Iran
suspending construction of its Arak heavy-water reactor, which can
produce plutonium, as well as halt uranium enrichment to a concentration
of 20 percent. In return, Western powers would ease crippling sanctions
that have battered Iran’s economy.
On Sunday, a senior American official who briefed Israeli reporters
and experts in Jerusalem on Sunday said that the six world powers in the
talks had in fact approved a working document and presented it to the
Iranians, the New York Times cites Herb Keinon of The Jerusalem Post as