Secretary of State John Kerry said a deal on Iran's nuclear
weapons program could be reached relatively quickly, and it would have
the potential to dramatically improve the relationship between the two
countries, Reuters reported.
Kerry said intensifying diplomatic
efforts to resolve the dispute over Iran's nuclear program could produce
an agreement within the three- to six-month time frame that Iranian
President Hassan Rouhani has called for.
"It's possible to have a
deal sooner than that depending on how forthcoming and clear Iran is
prepared to be," Kerry said in an interview aired on CBS's "60 Minutes"
"If it is a peaceful program, and we can all see that -
the whole world sees that - the relationship with Iran can change
dramatically for the better and it can change fast," he said.
and U.S. President Barack Obama spoke by telephone on Friday in the
highest-level contact between the two countries in three decades,
raising hopes of a breakthrough in Western efforts to prevent Iran from
building a nuclear bomb.
The call was the culmination of a
recent, dramatic shift in tone between Iran and the United States, which
cut diplomatic relations a year after the 1979 Iranian revolution.
said Iran could prove its sincerity by immediately opening its nuclear
facilities to inspections and keeping its uranium enrichment efforts at
lower grades that were not suitable for military use.
defended its right to enrich uranium as part of a civilian nuclear
energy and medicine program and denied that it aims to develop atomic
weapons, but the United States and its allies have sought an end to
higher-grade uranium enrichment that could be a step away from the
production of weapons-grade material.
"Iran needs to take rapid
steps, clear and convincing steps, to live up to the international
community's requirements regarding nuclear programs, peaceful nuclear
programs," Kerry said.
"Words are not going to replace actions,"
he said. "What we need are actions that prove that we and our allies,
our friends in the region, can never be threatened by this program."
a separate interview, Iran's foreign minister said the country's right
to peaceful nuclear enrichment was not negotiable but it did not need to
enrich uranium to military-grade levels.