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‘Agreement’ between Iran and P5+1 on nuclear crisis possible on Friday, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tells Amanpour

November 7th, 2013
05:12 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

(CNN) - An "understanding or agreement" on Iran's nuclear program may be possible as soon as Friday, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif told CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Thursday.

"We know what the ingredients should be. We have discussed them in the last three, four weeks. And I think our colleagues are ready to start drafting," Zarif, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, said. "I believe it is possible to reach an understanding or an agreement before we close these negotiations tomorrow evening."

Direct negotiations resumed on Thursday between Iran and the so-called P5+1 - Germany plus the permanent five members of the U.N. Security Council: The United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia and China.

Iran is seeking relief from the Western sanctions that have inflicted serious damage on its economy; the West wants to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

"There won't be a suspension of our enrichment program in its entirety," Zarif said. "But we can deal with various issues - various issues are on the table."

At issue is whether Iran will stop enriching uranium entirely or continue to produce nuclear fuel for civilian and research use, as allowed under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.

In an interview with Amanpour on Wednesday, U.S. Senate Democrat Bob Menendez called on Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment.

"It's not rolling back its 20% or 3.5% enrichment," Menendez said. "It's not reducing its centrifuges. Why can you not simply suspend in order to have the negotiation that you want? That would be a good-faith effort."

Zarif rejected that idea.

"Iran suspended its entire enrichment program from 2003 to 2005," he said. "So we've tested that. And it didn't produce positive results. We're not going to test that again."

"We've got to be creative, we've got to be innovative and deal with situations as - on the basis of realities, not on the basis of illusions," he told Amanpour. "I believe, at the end of the day, everybody will be happy with a deal that can be achieved today."

The foreign minister would not go into further detail about what elements were being discussed, saying that the negotiations were at a "very sensitive stage" and were best held behind closed doors."

"We are prepared to address some of the most immediate concerns that have been raised," Zarif said. "And then we expect reciprocally for our concerns to be met by the P5+1, particularly the United States and the European Union."

Nothing is yet on the table, he told Amanpour, but "everybody knows where the concerns are."

It is now a matter of starting to draft the actual text of an agreement.

"I believe the ingredients are there," he said. "It takes quite a bit of effort, and quite a bit off good faith and political will. I know that we have it on our side, and I hope that we can expect the same from the other side."

He said that policy of imposing pressure, which included sanctions, had "produced no results" - adding that in about 10 years, Iran had increased its number of centrifuges from "160" to "19,000."

"There is a window of opportunity now that has been created by the Iranian people through their election of President [Hassan] Rouhani," Zarif said. "And that opportunity needs to be seized."

UPDATE: This article was updated with stylistic changes throughout.

READ MORE: Iran nuclear talks ‘detailed,’ and ‘substantive’ says lead U.S. negotiator Wendy Sherman


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Iran • Latest Episode
soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. Jim

    Isn't it enough we have Obama, systematically weakening the US, Domestically and Internationally?
    Giving the Iranian money to the Dictator regime of Tehran to make the bomb faster and put more Iranian in the jail and excute them and also send the terrorists around to kill the US soldiers?

    November 7, 2013 at 10:58 pm | Reply
    • Obama

      And you really believe that?

      November 8, 2013 at 6:00 am | Reply
      • karim

        Giving the supreme leader Peace noble prize too to execute more and put more innocent Iranian in the jail like his friend Al-Assad!

        November 8, 2013 at 9:02 am |
    • Mike

      "Giving the Iranian money to the Dictator regime of Tehran to make the bomb faster and put more Iranian in the jail "

      Every one of your claims is a lie. A deal would not include the U.S. giving Iran ANY money at all. It would just end laws against Americans doing business with people in Iran. What do you have against free trade?

      As for Iranians being put in "jail", many more Iranians are suffering from the sanctions that the deal would lift, than from the Iranian government's actions. The sanctions are leading to more poverty and crime, and as a result, more people being jailed.

      November 8, 2013 at 6:05 am | Reply
      • Lyla

        – Why Sanction happened? because the Aytolah wanted bomb.
        – If sanction waived, the more money goes to the Ayatolahl not the people. The supreme leader is the richest person in the country.

        November 8, 2013 at 9:06 am |
    • Mama

      How crazy!!

      November 8, 2013 at 6:15 am | Reply
  2. marjan

    Do you know that Zarif is representive of supreme leader that excuted 10 inconent persons per day over the last Two months and keeping Thousands of students, lawyers, reporters, teachers....in the jail.? Do you know the electon is fake. you can vote just to few people that regime selected? Do you know there is no free media like tv or radio or magazine?
    Do you know that they didnt allow to the human right officer from united nation to have visit from Iran? How do you trust this regime? any agreement with those is on the air!!!!

    November 7, 2013 at 11:35 pm | Reply
    • Mike

      Marjan, the Iranian people don't want the MEK to come to power in Iran. Stop supporting that cult. The Iranian people want sanctions lifted from them. Sanctions are leading to shortages of food and medicine for ordinary Iranians, not the Iranian government.

      November 8, 2013 at 6:36 am | Reply
      • Mehran

        The Iranian want democracy more than bomb. They want to have access to the all web sites and newspaper without any filter. The Iranian want to say what they believe. The Iranian wanted the real election, not voting to the few security people from regime. The Iranian do not want to get involved in the Syria or Lebanon or Bahrain....

        November 8, 2013 at 9:10 am |
    • Mike

      Also your claim that "10 people a day have been executed in the last two months" is a lie.

      November 8, 2013 at 6:36 am | Reply
      • Mehran

        lLook at the human right group from UN reports

        November 8, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • Cyrus

      Marjan, I'm iranian like you and have no special interest in Islamic Rupublic. But we should not to mix everything. Politics is politics. Sanctions make people suffer much more than governments. Making a deal with Iran is nothing unuseal concerning politic affairs. Executing people is nothing to do with sanctions. There are unfortunatly countries much less democtratic in the region, all being allies of US and not be sanctioned in anyway. People in this new government are working very hard to make an acceptable deal for two sides. Iranian people merit a life standard much higher than what they can have today. Why blocking it?

      November 8, 2013 at 7:10 am | Reply
      • Bashid

        You should elect a better govt then.

        November 8, 2013 at 7:33 am |
    • darling70

      They cannot be trusted, as they are double faced.

      November 8, 2013 at 7:31 am | Reply
  3. Massud Beigi

    Is unusual for iranian government that would give up nuclear to easy all of sudden and as irania I believe they buying time to stand up againe and get more energy to continue on,...but for pice in Middle East talkes with Iran could be , only the word watch them verry carefully
    Thank you

    November 7, 2013 at 11:38 pm | Reply
  4. Jim

    Give money to the regime to do more scandel! pour Iranian that looing more money.
    The regime already wasted hundred billion $ of money belonged to the Iranian.

    November 8, 2013 at 12:13 am | Reply
    • Mike

      The deal does not include any offer to give money to the Iranian government! It would only remove laws against Americans doing trade with people in Iran! What do you have against free trade?

      November 8, 2013 at 6:42 am | Reply
    • Josef

      Thank you Jim for your insightful comment. This Amanpour is looking for inerviews with fascist rulers of Iran. I have never seen an interview initiated by her about the women or young peoples situation in Iran. There is no freedom of communication and expression through mediums in Itan. There are many tough issues aboout lack of freedom in Iran to bring up in media. The muslim dicators have squeezed the facebook , the independent newspapers are shutdown and bloggers have been prosned or tortured to death by this islamic government. Why Christiane Amanpour is not bringing these kinf of issues? Whre is her journalistic code of ethics?

      November 8, 2013 at 9:44 am | Reply
  5. ashok

    Wonderful ! Would look forward to Iranian gas being piped to India through Pakistan. Good for the region.

    November 8, 2013 at 12:29 am | Reply
  6. amirmasood

    can you tell us how can we get free from sanctions???? we are under pressure we have people who can't even earn to eat it is too hard to believe but can tell me another way? our government is now trying to across through the sanctions. I'm sure fighting the dictate regime will not finish by these activities and in this way innocent persons feel forgotten from both sides.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:42 am | Reply
    • Mina

      Stop enriching Uranium, open all the atomic sites to the UN inspectors and also allow the human rights UN officers to visit the prisons, release all the political prisons, stop executing of Iranian, giving democracy to Iranian and respect human rights, ......

      November 8, 2013 at 11:21 am | Reply
      • Mehdi

        Are you one of Israel's players here? I think so. Your name is Iranian but your comments show you don't know a lot about Iran and its realities. I'm Iranian and I'm sure these comments don't come from an Iranian who has lived there and is familiar with the situation.

        November 8, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
  7. dad

    When you look to these comments, understand that how much propaganda is against. Since the Iranian Revolution in 1979, US has consistently sanctioned democratically elected Iranian governments who have not acted in accordance with US policies. This tacit use of economic sanctions to influence the political actions of a State is clearly violative of the right to self-determination of that nation and its people and is especially jarring in the case of Iran whose democratically elected government and its policies enjoy popular support. Currently Iran’s situation reveals that the drug shortage caused by US sanctions affected an estimated six million people. The greatest effect has been felt by persons suffering from cancer and disorders such as hemophilia, multiple sclerosis and thalassemia, as well as patients requiring transplants and kidney dialysis. An estimated 23,000 Iranians who have HIV/AIDs have limited access to life-saving drugs. The US sanction on the banking sector in conducting economic transactions, which restricts the legitimate trade of medicines in Iran because of the difficulty in the transferal of funds. This, in turn, has led to a burgeoning black-market trade of medicines, which has played an important role in inflating the price of medicines, which has endangered the lives of many people.

    November 8, 2013 at 9:50 am | Reply
    • Mehran

      The money in this regime is not serving the people. It goes to the Mullah family to buy very expensive cars or build luxury cottages or sending more troops and weapons to the Syria for helping criminal Al-Assad !

      November 8, 2013 at 11:16 am | Reply
  8. ASHGAR ANSARI

    On the face of it Iran FM looks like a moderate because he is not sporting typical scary islamic mullah beard .

    November 8, 2013 at 11:25 am | Reply
    • Hasan

      He does the orders from the supreme leader. He has been the senior security of him for years and had one famous speech in the congress in the past that we must execute all the oppositions in the streets without any court to scare the others!

      November 8, 2013 at 11:43 am | Reply
  9. Nano

    This is all about oil. USA is becoming independent; electric is taking over. There is only a very "small" window left for Iran to build infrastructure and make money of their resources. They still have "a few years" left to make money and build a new way out. I don't know Iran politics; but someone must have figured this out also............

    November 8, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Reply
  10. jimmy lim

    The international community must have iranians to return to democracy and not giving in to Iran to have a nuclear bomb. Sanctions must be in place until such time the this religious bigot n dictatorial regime is dethroned for the good of all iranians. Currently Iran is a snake bigger than an anaconda

    November 8, 2013 at 9:57 pm | Reply
  11. Dan

    What liars, while the Iranians stall the talks they continue to enrich weapons grade uranium and make plans to attack Europe

    November 9, 2013 at 3:01 pm | Reply
    • Christian

      who told you that they wanna attack Europe, Dan? I'm more worried about the NSA here

      November 9, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Reply
      • dapper98

        They did, by manufacturing long range missiles that have a range to hit almost every place in Europe.

        November 10, 2013 at 6:20 am |
  12. changeirannow

    The Nuclear talks in Geneva must be built on proven steps to halt its nuclear weapons capacity and not just promises. We should not give them sanctions relief just because they say "Trust us." Also, The US must include human rights issues as a condition of relief. This is the point where the US had maximum leverage over a regime wanting a deal badly. The US must not give something away without gaining something in return.

    November 9, 2013 at 6:28 pm | Reply
  13. Matt

    If any deal does not deal with the undeclared or blacksites as Qum was an undeclared site. It is simply slowing down the production of bombs by preventing the declared stockpile and sites being used to produce bombs. As with Qum the size of the site this is around 3 bombs per year. Obviously if the declared sites are used and the stockpile Iran will produce many more warheads. Now under the cover of the warheads produced from the undeclared sites as was the purpose of Qum this can be done under a nuclear umbrella. Which makes the military option high intensity full spectrum warfare not solely conventional. So any deal and Iran will not allow access to undeclared sites is a slowing or containment of capacity. Now temporary relief via waivers on sanctions to prevent the conversion of the declared sites to warhead production limiting Iran to three warheads per year. Which are limited relief and reversible leaving sanction pressure in place that is a compromise. Iran could offer up the whole declared program and still produce three bombs per year to remove sanctions. It has served its purpose albeit offers cover the continued enrichment. But the purpose of the declared sites and stockpile is to barter away sanctions while losing nothing, as blacksites or declared atomic work for military purposes will always bring sanctions. That is all it is there is no grand bargain to be had it is just a slowing and containment of capacity without giving much away or forcing the conversion to take place in the declared sites.

    November 10, 2013 at 10:18 am | Reply
  14. dapper98

    As usual the Iranian Amanpour makes propaganda for the liars and terrorists from the Iranian government. It is high time for her to quit CNN and officially join the Iranian ministry for deception and propaganda

    November 12, 2013 at 1:56 am | Reply
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