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Kerry's Security Talks in Europe to Include Iran Nuclear Accord


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is due in Germany for talks on global security that will include discussion of Iran's nuclear program. A deal could impact broader engagement with Iran.

Rolling back Iran's nuclear program includes new inspections to ensure that it's limiting uranium enrichment. That's in return for relief from some international sanctions, with President Barack Obama threatening even tougher measures "if Iran's leaders do not seize this opportunity."

"If Iran’s leaders do seize the chance, and we’ll know soon enough, then Iran could take an important step to rejoin the community of nations, and we will have resolved one of the leading security challenges of our time without the risks of war," said Obama. John Kerry's Travels, January 30 – February 2

John Kerry's Travels, January 30 – February 2



Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the deal opens a new chapter.

"With the implementation of the Geneva agreement, relations with European states will be entirely normalized. Engagement between Iran and the United States in the past months has also entered a new phase,” said Rouhani.

The deal puts relations between Washington and Tehran on a cautious new footing, said former U.S. ambassador Adam Ereli.

"There certainly is a degree of optimism in the American administration that hasn't been there for a long, long time because frankly, I think, this process has gone further than anybody expected at the beginning," said Ereli.

However, nuclear talks may not ease other differences with Iran, said U.S. Institute of Peace analyst Steve Heydemann.

"One of the hopes that's driving the Iran negotiations is that if we bring Iran back into the international community it will temper its behavior elsewhere. That is very much an uncertain question,” said Heydemann.

That is especially true when it comes to Tehran backing Syria's government and its Hezbollah allies.

"We are clear-eyed about Iran’s support for terrorist organizations like Hezbollah, which threaten our allies; and the mistrust between our nations cannot be wished away," said Obama.

Threats to allies Israel and Saudi Arabia also temper the president's approach, said American University professor Hillary Mann Leverett. She believes Tehran is working to ease those threats.

"They are committed to doing everything single thing they can to make it doable for the United States to make this nuclear deal with Iran. And that does mean allaying Israeli concerns and certainly assuaging concerns in Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf," said Leverett.

She also said there is only a limited opening for President Rouhani to show domestically the benefits of better relations with the West.

"And clearly the central element that President Rouhani has out there as a test of whether he produces is whether he can essentially get the United State to the table and get the United States to deliver. If we don't do that, he is going to have to search for something else. It may be something we don't like," explained Leverett.

U.S. officials have said better relations with Iran could help in Afghanistan, where NATO forces are due to end their mission this year, and in Iraq, where the government is fighting militants based in areas along the Syrian border.
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