Iran FM: Still Open to Direct Talks With US on Nuclear Program

Rapprochement Requires More than Just One Phone Call

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says that Iran remains open to direct talks with the US on its civilian nuclear program, and would even be willing to submit to additional inspections above and beyond those required by its IAEA membership.

At the same time, Zarif says that a deal needs the US to stop imposing “blind sanctions” and be open to serious talks, adding that the civilian enrichment program remains “non-negotiable.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi also expressed support for further talks, though he said that the phone call between President Rouhani and President Obama didn’t necessarily mean a quick return to full diplomatic relations, and that the 30+ years of acrimony were a lot more than one phone call could make up for.

Though President Rouhani was elected on a platform of rapprochement with the US, it wasn’t universally supported within Iran either, and hard-line factions that were more comfortable with the status-quo aren’t convinced that the US can be negotiated with.

Still, a dramatic change in tone has occurred, and there is a definite push toward diplomacy that has already had an impact on the P5+1 talks. Where that takes US-Iranian relations remains to be seen, but there’s clearly a major chance for progress here.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.