The first round of talks coordinated by the EU between the P5+1 countries and Iran aimed at a comprehensive agreement over Iran’s nuclear program ended February 20 in Vienna.
The first round of talks coordinated by the EU between the P5+1 countries and Iran aimed at a comprehensive agreement over Iran’s nuclear program ended last week February 20 in Vienna. Both sides regarded the negotiations that took place as positive and productive. The next round is scheduled to start March 17. In the intervening weeks, technical experts from the participating countries will work closely to try to make progress on key substantive issues.
In an interview with Voice of America’s Persian News Network, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, the top negotiator for the United States at the talks, said the discussions created a framework and a timetable for moving forward on a comprehensive agreement:
“So we have begun our work and now we have to continue that work which will be very intensive, very difficult; but I would say everyone in the room was determined to try in every way we can to reach the result.”
Under Secretary of State Sherman said the ultimate objective of the comprehensive agreement is clear, as President Barack Obama has emphasized:
“That Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon and that the international community has confidence that Iran’s program is exclusively peaceful in nature.”
Thirty years of mistrust have been built up between the United States and Iran, noted Ms. Sherman, and it will take time to get over that. But, she said, “If we can solve this problem, which is fundamental to the security of the United States, and quite frankly…fundamental to Iran’s security and to the security of the world, then we have taken a step forward in having a more normal relationship.”
Under Secretary of State Sherman said the United States believes that both the Iranian and the American people want such a relationship, and that a step-by- step approach is the most effective way to “gain confidence and see if we can put aside so many decades of mistrust.”