Zarif Says Iran Ready for New Nuclear Deal After Kerry Meeting

Iran said it wants to strike a new, long-term nuclear deal with world powers when it returns to negotiations later this month.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met today during the Munich Security Conference. The nations began implementing a six-month agreement Jan. 20 that suspends some of the Persian Gulf nation’s nuclear work in exchange for limited lifting of sanctions.

“It would be foolish for us to bargain for six months,” Zarif said during a panel at the conference. “If we remain prisoners of the past we will never be capable of solving future issues.”

Iranian and U.S. diplomats will meet their counterparts from China, France, Germany, Russia and the U.K. on Feb. 18 in Vienna. The Nov. 24 accord they struck in Geneva broke a decade-long deadlock that led both the U.S. and Israel to leave open the possibility of military strikes on Iran. United Nations nuclear inspectors are looking into possible military dimensions of past Iranian nuclear activities.

“There has been positive and encouraging movement but much more needs to be done,” International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano said on the same panel with Zarif. “Possible military dimensions need to be clarified.”

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