United States Could Ease Sanctions Quickly if Iran Acts on Nuclear Promises

World Powers To Meet in Geneva Tuesday and Wednesday

Getty Images

By Reuters

Published October 14, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

GENEVA, Oct 14 (Reuters) - The United States held out the prospect of quick sanctions relief for Iran on Monday if Tehran moves swiftly to allay concerns about its nuclear programme, although both countries said any deal would be complex and take time.

Six world powers - the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany - hold talks with Iran on its nuclear programme in Geneva on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“No one should expect a breakthrough overnight,” a senior U.S. administration official told reporters.

Washington is ready to offer Iran rapid relief from economic sanctions if Tehran moves quickly to address concerns that the ultimate goal of its nuclear work was to make bombs, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Any potential sanctions relief, the official said, would be “targeted, proportional to what Iran puts on the table”. Iran says its nuclear programme is peaceful.

“I’m sure they will disagree about what is proportionate,” the official said. “But we are quite clear about what the menu of options are and what will match what.”

On the eve of the talks, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who represents the so-called “P5+1” nations in negotiations, had dinner with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who said Tehran would put its case on Tuesday.

“We had a good dinner,” Zarif told Reuters as he returned to his hotel after the two-hour dinner at the Iranian diplomatic residence in Geneva.

When asked if he had given Ashton details of an Iranian proposal, he responded: “Proposal is for tomorrow.”

In a hint that Washington is seriously considering easing sanctions, the U.S. delegation at the talks includes one of its leading sanctions experts - Adam Szubin, the director of the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.

The European Union’s top sanctions official has also joined the bloc’s delegation at the talks.

Since 2006, Iran has rejected U.N. Security Council demands that it halt uranium enrichment and has continued to expand its nuclear fuel programme, leading to increasingly harsh sanctions.

This week’s meeting follows the June election of President Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate who says he wants to thaw Iran’s icy relations with the West to secure the removal of punitive sanctions that have hobbled its oil-based economy.

Foreign ministers from the P5+1 - including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry - met with their Iranian counterpart, Zarif, on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly last month when they announced the plan for this week’s meeting.

A day after the Kerry-Zarif meeting, President Barack Obama and Rouhani spoke by telephone, the highest level U.S.-Iranian contact since Iran’s Islamic revolution in 1979. Washington and Tehran have not had diplomatic relations since 1980.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • Does Israel have a racism problem?
  • This 007 hates guns, drives a Prius, and oh yeah — goes to shul with Scarlett Johansson's dad.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.