The US may be ready to meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad if Iran is ready to resume negotiations on its nuclear program, according to remarks by US President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, Gen. James Jones, in a CNN interview Wednesday.
Jones said that “the door’s open” for a meeting between Iran and the US.
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“One thing they might do is return our three hikers. That would be an important gesture. It could lead to better relations,” Jones said, speaking about an opening move to jumpstart discussions.
The national security adviser told CNN that the US felt it had a window to allow international sanctions to affect Iran before reverting to other options.
“We’ve done an awful lot of work to find out what our time frames are and what is the... ‘wiggle room’ with regard to the international community,” he said. “There’s general agreement... as to what that is, and people are comfortable right now with where we are on that linear path.”
Jones stated that the sanctions imposed on Iran recently had had an impact.
“We have indications, as the president said last week, that the sanctions are in fact causing them a great deal of difficulty, that the nuclear program is not quite as progressive as some might have thought a year ago,” he said.
When asked about the potential for a military option against Iran, Jones declined to comment, saying, “I’m not going to speculate on that.”
Instead, he said, the US wants to “give these sanctions a good shot at working before we do anything else.”
Speaking about Ahmadinejad’s invitation to meet Obama at the UN General Assembly meeting in September, Jones responded, “As far as going as far as heads of state meeting, only time will tell.
But they [Iran] have to make those initial steps to show that they are sincere. There’s no point in a theatrical meeting without any building block leading up to it.”
Regarding a potential meeting with Iranian officials, the national security adviser said, “Ultimately if we find a convergence of paths, all things are possible.”
Meanwhile, the official IRNA news agency quoted an Iranian official on Thursday as saying that the country was ready to launch the Bushehr nuclear power plant.
Mahmoud Jafari, who is in charge of the Bushehr plant, reportedly said key tests and inspections of the power plant had been successful.
Double-checks, “installations and montage stage is completed, and we are about to launch the power plant,” Jafari was quoted as saying.