Remarks on Iran with Lady Ashton (Excerpts)

October 31, 2012

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

. . .

QUESTION: Yes. Brad Clapper from Associated Press. Sorry for being unable to rise. (Laughter). Lady Ashton, a month ago in New York, you were instructed or asked by the Security Council members and the P-5+1 to reach out to Iran's nuclear negotiator Jalili and then with the hopes of restarting the P-5+1 negotiations. I wanted to ask you where you are in the process and where you see the space for a possible agreement in the future. And Madam Secretary, your thoughts on that process and where you see the possible area for convergence, and if you have any reactions to Ukraine's elections as well. Thank you.

HIGH REPRESENTATIVE ASHTON: As you know, in New York, I was feeding back to the P-5+1/E-3+3 ministers on the discussions I'd been having with Dr. Jalili, who is the chief negotiator for the Iranians, on how to move forward. It is, as you know, my view that we have a twin-track approach of pressure and negotiation. The pressure you'll have seen most recently in new rounds of sanctions from the European Union, and we continue to try and find ways to move forward on our negotiations.

Over the weekend, there was a contact between my deputy and Dr. Jalili's deputy, and I will be making contact with Dr. Jalili in the near future. And I will continue to do everything I possibly can to move these negotiations forward, and I am pleased to do so with the full support of the ministers from the P-5+1/E-3+3, which is enormously important if we're to make the progress I'd like to make.

MODERATOR: Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Let me just add that we so appreciate Cathy's leadership in a unified P-5+1 approach, our dual-track approach, as she mentioned. So our message to Iran is clear: The window remains open to resolve the international community's concerns about your nuclear program diplomatically and to relieve your isolation, but that window cannot remain open indefinitely. Therefore, we hope that there can be serious, good-faith negotiations commenced soon.

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