White House 'overcoming a history of mistrust' with Iran

Two days prior to crucial negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program, senior White House officials commented on the thawing of relations between Iran and the US

White House 'overcoming a history of mistrust' with Iran

World Bulletin/News Desk

Two days prior to crucial negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program, senior White House officials commented on the thawing of relations between Iran and the US, saying, “we are overcoming a significant history of mistrust.”

Speaking to reporters Tuesday at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, the officials said “I think what we learned is, as the President said in his speech, we are overcoming a significant history of mistrust, and that there are hurdles to achieving a diplomatic resolution; and that Iran has to do more to demonstrate that some of the conciliatory words that we’ve seen out of President Rouhani will lead to a different position at the negotiation table and different actions in terms of their foreign policy.”

Such a shift in position is squarely founded in the election of Hassan Rouhani, who, administration officials contended, was elected with a mandate to improve Iran’s dire economic conditions – something that could be achieved through the reduction or elimination of Iran’s sanctions.

“What's different is he was elected expressly on a mandate to pursue a more moderate foreign policy and to achieve a nuclear deal in order to achieve sanctions relief,” said the official.

The official added, “And this is the important point; this is not something that we believe happens out of goodwill; we believe that Iran has an imperative to improve its economy, because every single economic indicator is negative for them.  The only way that they can improve the economy is through achieving sanctions relief.”

The administration official went on to note that the only way that such relief would take place was if Iran brought its nuclear program in compliance with international law.

President Obama earlier in the day affirmed the Iranian people’s right to access peaceful nuclear energy.

Executive-level meeting in Iran

Even as US Secretary of State John Kerry prepares to meet with his Iranian counterpart, Mohmammad Javad Zarif, on Thursday as part of nuclear negotiations with the P5+1 group, the administration official said that the possibility of a president-to-president meeting with Iran and the US was ultimately in Iran’s court.

“It was not something we had any high degree of certainty that would take place.  But we're going to continue to put the test to the Iranians -- because, frankly, ultimately, the onus is on them to demonstrate that this is a real change in course and a real opening,” they said.

Still, the official noted that the meeting of the two country’s top diplomats would offer significant opportunities for the US and Iran to make headway on the nuclear negotiations.

They remarked, “The only thing I’d note in that regard, though, is that just the foreign minister-level meeting on Thursday is a change. Iranian foreign ministers have not sat down with American secretaries of state in any context in a very long time.  And, frankly, that’s where the substance of these negotiations will take place anyway.”

Last Mod: 25 Eylül 2013, 10:17
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