Kerry: U.S. undeterred by Iran leader’s nuke comments
Washington — Nuclear negotiations between world powers and Iran will not be affected by recent comments from Iran’s supreme leader who appeared to backtrack on key points of an emerging deal, Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday.
Kerry, who will leave Friday to rejoin the talks in Vienna as negotiators race to meet a June 30 deadline to complete an agreement, said this week’s speech by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei would not deter the talks. Kerry said the speech, along with highlights on Khamenei’s official Twitter feed, were for “domestic political consumption.” And he said that if Iran did backtrack on commitments made in an April outline there would be no deal.
“This is something that’s been going on throughout the negotiations,” Kerry said of the Iranian leader’s remarks. “It is not new. We are not going to be guided by or conditioned by or affected or deterred by some tweet that is for public consumption or domestic political consumption. What matters to us is what is agreed upon within the four corners of a document and that is what is yet to be determined.”
“It may be that the Iranians will not fill out the full measure of what was agreed at Lausanne and, in that case, there will not be an agreement,” he said, referring to the framework reached on April 2 in Lausanne, Switzerland.
In a speech Tuesday, Khamenei rejected a long-term freeze on nuclear research and insisted that Iran will only sign a deal if international sanctions are lifted first.
Kerry said neither he nor President Barack Obama would negotiate in public.
“I am not tweeting,” he said. “I am not making speeches, neither is President Obama.”
Earlier, the State Department announced in a one-sentence statement that Kerry would depart for Vienna on Friday on his first overseas trip since breaking his leg in a bicycle accident earlier this month after a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Geneva.
Diplomats from the United States, the other four permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany have been in intense discussions with Iranian officials in Vienna as the end-of-month deadline for a deal looms.