JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: They could immediately open up inspection of the Fordo facility; they could immediately sign the protocols, the additional protocols of the international community regarding inspections. They could offer to cease enrichment above a certain level.
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STEPHANOPOULOS: Is Iran prepared to do that?
ZARIF: But Iran is prepared to start negotiating. I'm sure Secretary Kerry does not want to dictate to us what we should or shouldn't do. We are willing to engage in negotiations. Of course the United States also needs to do certain things very rapidly. One is --
STEPHANOPOULOS: What do you need from the U.S.?
ZARIF: One is to dismantle its illegal sanctions against Iran that are targeting ordinary Iranians. Now, in spite of all of the claims to the contrary, it is impossible to open a letter of credit from a bank to buy medicine for Iranian patients because there has been, in fact, blind sanctions against banks dealing with Iran. There has been a lot of arm twisting by the United States, by -- not by the entire government, by certain elements within the U.S. government which have tried to put pressure on ordinary Iranian people.
And ordinary Iranian people showed during the last election that they put their trust in the ballot box, they put their trust in the government. They want the government to deal with the rest of the world from a position of strength, through flexibility, but insisting on their rights.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And that is what --
ZARIF: Sanctions are not a useful tool of implementing policy. And the United States needs to change that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I understand that's your demand. But in return, is Iran prepared to stop enriching uranium at the levels they are now enriching it?
ZARIF: Iran is prepared to negotiate. You know no country does or should negotiate on the --
STEPHANOPOULOS: But that's on the table?
ZARIF: Negotiations are on the table to discuss various aspects of Iranian's enrichment program. Our right to enrich is nonnegotiable.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you don't need to enrich above 20 percent, which is only used for military purposes.
ZARIF: We do not need military-grade uranium. That's a certainty and we will not move in that direction.
But what is necessary is for the two sides to sit together and reach a common objective. We should not have two competing objectives.
You see, let me explain to you, that after the breakup of the Soviet Union one of the concerns that you had and in the west -- and I was living here and I shared those concerns -- was that all of these scientists that were involved in the nuclear program were now unemployed and they could go to the black market, seeking employment opportunities.
Now, we have a large pool of Iranian scientists. We have an indigenous Iran nuclear program. Israel cannot kill all of our scientists. They have unfortunately assassinated some of them and nobody has raised an eyebrow about it, which is a source of great concern for us that the world, the United States which is supposed to be against terrorism is allowing terrorists to kill innocent Iranian scientists.
But now let me go to the issue and say that all these scientists, the best way to ensure that Iran's nuclear program will always remain peaceful is to make sure that these scientists operate in a facility or facilities that are observed by international observers, monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency.