MORAN: The next steps in this diplomatic journey are likely to be small ones, not big ones, confidence-building measures in advance of a meeting in October. Iran might agree to halt the enrichment of uranium to 20 percent, considered a dangerous threshold; could agree to release Western prisoners including the American Christian pastor Said Abedini, and the U.S. could ease some sanctions.
But, George, the bottom line is, after these historic headlines this week, now comes the hard part, the really hard part.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's get more on that hard part now -- thank you, Terry -- from Iran's foreign minister, Dr. Zarif. He joins us now.
Thank you for joining us.
MOHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIF, IRAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Good morning.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning. Welcome back to THIS WEEK, your first in 26 years.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It's been a long time.
This week, analysts in the Middle East have called the events a game-changer, one even likening it to the fall of the Berlin wall.
Is that your view? Has there been a fundamental shift in the relationship between the U.S. and Iran?
ZARIF: Well, I think we have taken the first steps to address an important issue, both for Iran, for the United States and for the international community, an issue which I believe should not have been, should not have become an issue in the first place.
But I has unfortunately become a global problem and now we need to resolve it and the resolution of that issue will be a first step, a necessary first step towards removing the tensions and doubts and misgivings that the two sides have had about each other for the last 30-some years.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That is, of course, the nuclear issue, but there's a lot of skepticism as you know about the ability of President Rouhani and you to deliver on any deal. Analysts look at the fact that there wasn't a handshake, only a phone call, as a sign of weakness. There have been demonstrations greeting President Rouhani when he returned to Iran. And many Western observers believe that your Supreme Leader simply will not do what it takes to back up a deal.
Can you assure Americans that he will indeed back a deal you negotiate?
ZARIF: Well, Iran and the United States are similar in many ways. And one is that we both have pluralistic societies where difference of views exist and difference of views are aired. And I think it's very healthy, of course --
STEPHANOPOULOS: But he has the final say?
ZARIF: Of course, we have to do it with an (inaudible) of mutual respect and mutual interest. We believe that, if the United States is ready to recognize Iran's rights, to respect Iran's rights and move from that perspective, then we have a real chance and we negotiate with the full authority of the Leader.
We know what we want to achieve. We know that Iran is not seeking a nuclear weapon. In fact, what I told the foreign ministers and the secretaries of state, in the meeting of E.U. 3+3, or as you want to call it 5+1, I told them that having an Iran that does not have nuclear weapons is not just your goal, it's first and foremost our goal.
STEPHANOPOULOS: As you know, there's a lot of skepticism about that. But Secretary Kerry, in an interview that's going to air tonight, has laid out some concrete steps that Iran could take in order to prove they don't want a nuclear weapon. Here's what he had to say.
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