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Diplomacy in Action

Remarks on Iran


Remarks
Wendy R. Sherman
Under Secretary for Political Affairs 
Jerusalem
February 22, 2014

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UNDER SECRETARY SHERMAN: Good evening. It’s wonderful to be here in Israel, to be here in Jerusalem. As you know, I’ve just come from Vienna, from the P5+1 plus the European Union talks with Iran. And I want to say to everyone here in Israel how valuable our consultations are here, both with government officials, with experts, with opinion leaders, discussions even with the press.

There is only one measure of success of a comprehensive agreement with Iran, and that is if an agreement means that Iran will never obtain a nuclear weapon and that the international community will have assurance in the exclusively peaceful nature of a nuclear program in Iran. That is our objective. We have begun very tough negotiations that will go on through July. We hope to get to a successful end and to a comprehensive agreement at that time. We have set a framework and a timetable for the negotiations.

But this is a very complex negotiation, and I very much look forward to the talks that I will have here in Israel, which I always do before and after each negotiation to get input, ideas, points of view. Sometimes we agree, sometimes we don’t agree. But what is critical is to have that input as we move forward to ensure the security of Israel, the security of the United States, and the security of the world.

MS. HARF: I think we have time for just two questions. The first is from Tal Shalev of i24. Go ahead.

QUESTION: Under Secretary Sherman, what will be the main message that you’ll be conveying to the Israeli Government and giving the Israeli prime minister’s evidence (inaudible) belief in this process? Do you think there’s any way you can ease his concerns at this point?

UNDER SECRETARY SHERMAN: What I will say to the officials with whom I meet is that I’m here to listen, to brief, of course, about what happened in some detail in Vienna, but also to listen, to get ideas. And nothing about this comprehensive agreement is about what we believe. It is about what we see, what can be verified, what can be monitored, what are the concrete actions that will give us and the international community confidence in an exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program and that they will not obtain a nuclear weapon. So it is about verify, verify, verify and is about concrete actions and steps that show us that we can meet these objectives.

MS. HARF: And the last question is from Tovah Lazaroff of The Jerusalem Post. Go ahead.

QUESTION: Yes. Hi. Sorry. When you were talking about a peaceful program, one of Israel’s concerns, of course, is Iran’s ability to continue to enrich uranium. And when you – will Iran be able to continue to enrich uranium as part of a peaceful program? If so, how will you ensure that it won’t use that for nuclear weapons? And will you be looking at its civilian – the language for its civilian use to ensure that it can’t also turn enriched uranium for civilian purposes into nuclear weapons?

UNDER SECRETARY SHERMAN: As I have said, the objective here is to ensure that Iran cannot obtain a nuclear weapon and that its program is exclusively peaceful. Whether, in fact, Iran will have a domestic enrichment program is part of the negotiations. In the Joint Plan of Action, it was envisioned that it was possible, that Iran might have a small, discrete enrichment program. But that really depended on what the nature of that was, whether there would be the verification and monitoring that would ensure that it would never have a military dimension to the program, it would be strictly for peaceful purposes.

And indeed, I think what’s important for every one to know is that Joint Plan of Action says about a comprehensive agreement that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. So everybody in the room has a veto to make sure that our objectives get met and not just Iran’s.

MS. HARF: Thank you very much, everyone.



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