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Kerry Tells Iran Time Is Running Out For Nuclear Negotiations

  • RFE/RL

"This choice really lies in the hands of the Iranians," Kerry said in Istanbul.

"This choice really lies in the hands of the Iranians," Kerry said in Istanbul.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has warned Iran that time is running out for negotiations on its suspected nuclear weapons program.

Speaking in Turkey on the first leg of a 10-day regional tour, Kerry said negotiations were not an “endless process” and suggested that the United States was prepared to act militarily if Iran refuses to resolve the issue through diplomatic means.

"We would repeat to Iran it is our desire to have a diplomatic solution, but this choice really lies in the hands of the Iranians," Kerry said. "If you have a peaceful program for nuclear power, as a number of nations do, it is not hard to prove to the world that it is peaceful. Those other nations do that today. The reason that Iran is increasingly finding itself isolated and in a position of being sanctioned is because they have chosen -- they have chosen -- not to live up to the international requirements and standards with respect to verification about their program."

Kerry’s remarks come after two-day international talks in Kazakhstan aimed at limiting Iran’s nuclear program ended on April 6 with no notable progress.

The so-called P5+1 group – the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain, and Germany – want Iran to suspend higher-grade uranium enrichment in return for easing some international sanctions on the Islamic republic.

The global powers fear Iran is enriching uranium in order to manufacture atomic weapons. But Iran says its nuclear program is for energy and medical purposes and staunchly defends its right to produced highly enriched uranium.

The failed talks in Almaty were the second such meeting in less than two months. Speaking afterward, Iran’s chief negotiator Said Jalili said some “distances” remained between the two sides.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on April 6 the sides are facing continued difficulty in finding common ground.

"A model for an ultimate solution could and should be recognition of all of Iran's rights under the nuclear nonproliferation treaty, including its right to enrichment, in return for putting Iran's nuclear program under the all-embracing control of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)," Rybakov said. "You can delve as deep as you can into any detail of this matter. If such a deal takes place, then, in our opinion, Iran ought to be fully relieved of sanctions."

Iran’s main regional rival, Israel, urged world powers to threaten Tehran with an ultimatum.

Yuval Steinitz, Israel's minister of intelligence and strategic affairs, said, “The time has come to present the Iranians with a military threat or some kind of red line or unequivocal ultimatum by the entire order to get results.”

With reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters