U.S.: policy with Iran not trust-based, relying on monitoring

A top U.S. diplomat said Saturday that the United States would rely on “intrusive” monitoring rather than trust for Iran’s curtailing of its nuclear program.

“Decades of mistrust” between the United States and Iran meant that Washington would “have to rely on verification and monitoring” of Iran’s nuclear facilities, said Wendy Sherman, the U.S. under secretary of state for political affairs and a lead negotiator of last month’s nuclear talks with the Islamic Republic, in an interview with Al Arabiya News Channel.

“We have put in place, even in this first step, the most intrusive monitoring that’s existed in Iran,” said Sherman.

Sherman was speaking ahead of further talks on Iran’s nuclear program that will begin in Vienna on Monday, bringing together experts from Iran and the six major powers overseeing the interim nuclear agreement to discuss its implementation with U.N. and IAEA inspectors.

The process of monitoring Iran’s nuclear facilities would focus on limiting atomic capacity and more frequent and extensive inspections of installations, added the diplomat.

Highlighting U.S. commitments to its Arab allies over talks with Iran, negotiations regarding the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program are made with the consultation of Gulf states “before and after” each dialogue, said Sherman, stating that the U.S. stands “side by side” with the Gulf on maintaining the security of the region.

Regional threat

Downplaying the Gulf’s fears that talks with Iran would jeopardize regional stability, Sherman said that the only topic of discussion in the P5+1 is the country’s nuclear program, rather than a “whole variety of issues” concerning Arab states.

Despite reducing some of the crippling sanctions to the Islamic Republic, the diplomat stressed that “very, very few sanctions will be suspended.”

Out of the $100 billion of Iran’s foreign assets – frozen by sanctions – the U.S. would only return a “tiny, tiny percentage,” she said.

In November, Iran and the P5+1, a group composed on negotiators from the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia plus Germany reached a historic agreement in which Tehran will curb its nuclear activities in exchange for limited sanctions relief.

The deal was aimed at buying time for a further, more longstanding agreement aimed at reassuring Western nations that Iran – which has always insisted its nuclear program is peaceful – is not aimed at developing nuclear weapons.

By Al-Arabiya


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