By Mario Trujillo - 09/27/13 01:25 AM EDT
Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday a deal with Iran regarding its nuclear program could come in as little as three months, depending on the country’s willingness to negotiate.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said a short timeframe of three-to-six months would be ideal for his country. When asked in a CBS interview whether that timeline is realistic, Kerry said, “Sure. It’s possible.”
“It’s possible to have a deal sooner than that depending on how forthcoming and clear Iran is prepared to be,” he said. The full interview will air Sunday.
The interview took place hours before Kerry had a one-on-one meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, the first such encounter in more than 30 years. Kerry came away from the meeting pleased, saying it struck a “very different tone.”
In the interview, Kerry said the United States would only begin lifting sanctions after Iran outlined “a very verifiable, accountable, transparent” process.
One concrete step Iran could take to show seriousness in negotiations would be to open up the fortified Fordow nuclear facility, which enriches uranium, Kerry said. He also outlined steps Iran could take to adhere to international inspection protocols and voluntarily lower its enrichment levels.
“Keep it at a very low level because there’s no need to have it at a higher level for a peaceful program,” Kerry said.