The P5+1 -- the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, and China, facilitated by the European Union -- has been engaged in serious and substantive negotiations with Iran with the goal of reaching a verifiable diplomatic resolution that would prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. This weekend, the P5+1 and Iran reached a set of initial understandings that halts the progress of Iran's nuclear program and rolls it back in key respects. These are the first meaningful limits that Iran has accepted on its nuclear program in close to a decade.
"The fact is that if this step -- first step -- leads to what is our ultimate goal, which is a comprehensive agreement that will make the world safer," Secretary of State John Kerry said during a press conference after the P5+1 talks with Iran in Geneva, Switzerland.
Secretary Kerry continued, "...It will make our partners in the region safer. It will make our ally Israel safer. This has been a difficult and a prolonged process. It's been difficult for us, and it's been difficult for our allies, and it’s obviously been difficult for the Government of Iran. The next phase, let me be clear, will be even more difficult, and we need to be honest about it. But it will also be even more consequential."
"And while we obviously have profound differences with Iran yet to be resolved, the fact is that this agreement could not have been reached without the decision of the Iranian Government to come to the table and negotiate. And I want to say tonight that Foreign Minister Zarif worked hard, deliberated hard, and we are obviously, we believe, better that the decision was made to come here than not to, and to work hard to reach an agreement. And we thank the Foreign Minister for those efforts," the Secretary said.
"Together now, we need to set about the critical task of proving to the world what Iran has said many times -- that its program is in fact peaceful. Now, with this first step, we have created the time and the space in order to be able to pursue a comprehensive agreement that would finish the work that President Obama began on the very first day in office, and that is to ensure that Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon."
For more information:
- Remarks by President Barack Obama on First Step Agreement on Iran's Nuclear Program
- Remarks by Secretary of State John Kerry During Press Availability After P5+1 Talks
- White House Fact Sheet: First Step Understandings Regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran's Nuclear Program
- P5+1 and Iran Joint Plan of Action (PDF)