White House: Iran showed new ‘level of seriousness’ in talks

The White House said Wednesday that Iran showed a “level of seriousness and substance” in nuclear talks this week that had not been seen before.

Two-day talks between Iran and six world powers over Tehran’s nuclear program ended Wednesday with both sides sounding an upbeat note over the negotiations.

Iranian officials made a proposal at the talks in Geneva that reportedly included some concessions on enrichment levels and allowing inspectors to visit Iran’s nuclear sites.

“The Iranian proposal was a new proposal with a level of seriousness and substance that we had not seen before,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said at Wednesday’s press briefing.

Carney reiterated the administration’s line that the positive developments do not mean a breakthrough is coming overnight.

“The onus remains on Iran to come into compliance with its international obligations,” Carney said. “And any deal must prove to the international community that Iran's program will be used for exclusively peaceful purposes.”

Iran and the P5+1 group — the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany — issued a statement after the talks concluded that said the negotiations were “substantive and forward looking.”

The statement from Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton — who is leading the talks for the six world powers — said the two sides would meet again in Geneva Nov. 7-8.

There’s been a renewed sense of optimism that a diplomatic agreement can be reached over Iran’s nuclear program after the election of President Hassan Rouhani in June.

Iran has always insisted its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only, while the United States and other Western countries suspect Iran seeks the ability to produce nuclear weapons.