Remarks on the Iran Negotiations in Vienna

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Palais Coburg
Vienna, Austria
July 5, 2015

SECRETARY KERRY: Good afternoon, everybody. Thank you so much for your patience. I know you’ve been waiting many long hours for --

QUESTION: We can’t hear you.

QUESTION: We can’t hear.

SECRETARY KERRY: I don’t know.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

STAFF: We’re good. We’re good. It’s (inaudible).

SECRETARY KERRY: I said thank you very much for your patience. I know that everybody’s been waiting for a long period of time, and I’m not going to go on at length at all. But I did want to just bring everybody up to speed because I think there’s a lot of speculation, and I want to make sure that it’s based on some sense of reality.

This evening, my foreign minister colleagues are returning here to Vienna. And it is now time – there we go – it’s now time to see whether or not we are able to close an agreement. In many ways, this negotiation has been going on for literally a number of years. And over the past few days, we have in fact made genuine progress. But I want to be absolutely clear with everybody: We are not yet where we need to be on several of the most difficult issues. And the truth is that while I completely agree with Foreign Minister Zarif that we have never been closer, at this point, this negotiation could go either way. If hard choices get made in the next couple of days and made quickly, we could get an agreement this week. But if they are not made, we will not.

So our teams remain very hard at work. In the coming hours and days we’re going to go as hard as we can. We are not going to be negotiating in the press. We’ll be negotiating privately and quietly. And when the time is right, we will all have more to say.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, how long are you going to (inaudible)?

QUESTION: Can you get a deal by the 7th, or is the real deadline the 9th?

QUESTION: (Inaudible) deadline on Tuesday, how long are you going to (inaudible)?

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, right now we’re aiming to try to finish this in the timeframe that we’ve set out. That’s our goal and we’re going to put every bit of pressure possible on it to try to do so.

QUESTION: Secretary Kerry, is the deadline the 7th or the 9th?

QUESTION: (Inaudible) leaving, would you walk away from it if (inaudible)?

SECRETARY KERRY: If we don’t get a deal, if we don’t have a deal, if there’s absolute intransigence, if there’s an unwillingness to move on the things that are important, President Obama has always said we’ll be prepared to walk away. It’s not what anybody wants. We want to get an agreement.

But I’ve said from the moment I became involved in this we want a good agreement, only a good agreement, and we’re not going to shave anywhere at the margins in order just to get an agreement. This is something that the world will analyze, experts everywhere will look at. There are plenty of people in the nonproliferation community, nuclear experts, who will look at this. And none of us are going to be content to do something that can’t pass scrutiny. Most importantly, President Obama has made it clear we have to close off the four pathways to the potential of a bomb. Our Iranian counterparts have been working hard. They’ve put in a lot of time. Everybody is negotiating hard. That’s what makes this difficult.

But our hope is that we get an agreement that is fair, that gets the job done, and we can hold our heads high and show the world that countries can come together and make things happen. But we’re not there yet. I emphasize that. We have difficult issues still to resolve.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary --

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you all very much. Thank you all. Thank you.

QUESTION: What’s your deadline? The 7th or the 9th? (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY KERRY: We’re currently pushing, as we’ve all said, for the 7th. That’s the deadline. Thank you all very much.