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US Secretary of State John Kerry surrounded by children of US Embassy employees at the embassy in Riyadh, yesterday.
RIYADH: US Secretary of State John Kerry said yesterday there was “finite” time for talks between Iran and world powers on its disputed nuclear programme to bear fruit, but gave no hint how long Washington may be willing to negotiate.
Israel, Iran’s arch-enemy and convinced Tehran is secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons, has grown impatient with the protracted talks and has threatened pre-emptive war against Tehran if it deems diplomacy ultimately futile. Kerry’s sentiment was largely echoed by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal, who said that the negotiations cannot be endless like the debates of philosophers over how many angels can fit on the head of a pin.
“There is a finite amount of time,” Kerry, in the Saudi capital Riyadh on his first overseas trip as the top US diplomat, said of the talks between a group of six world powers and Tehran, Saudi Arabia’s main regional adversary.
Kerry was speaking at a news conference with Prince Saud Al-Faisal, who suggested Iran was not showing enough seriousness about the discussions, which he said “cannot go on forever”.
Iran was positive last week after talks with the powers in Kazakhstan about its nuclear work ended with an agreement to meet again. But Western officials said it had yet to do anything concrete to allay their concerns about its nuclear aspirations.
“We can’t be like the philosophers who keep talking about how many angels a pinhead can hold,” Prince Saud Al-Faisal said.