NEW YORK -- The United States is arguably closer than ever to reaching a final nuclear treaty with Iran.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was back in New York for more talks with his American counterpart John Kerry on Tuesday, but he also sat down with "CBS This Morning" co-host Charlie Rose, for an interview for Rose's PBS program.
Rose asked Zarif whether the crippling economic sanctions levied against Iran over its clandestine nuclear program had forced the Islamic Republic to the negotiating table -- as was their stated intention, according to President Obama.
"The sanctions didn't change the mind of the Iranian government," insisted Zarif. "The Iranian government actually went ahead with building more centrifuges. So what the sanctions did was to create an atmosphere among the Iranian population that the United States doesn't want to treat them well, that the United States is trying to put pressure on them, that the United States is trying to prevent them from even buying medicine with their own money from abroad."
Rose challenged that assertion, suggesting, as American officials have insisted, that the sanctions were "very successful."
"This is not what I call success," Zarif responded.
"If the United States government wanted to antagonize the Iranian people... if the United States government wanted to create feelings and misgivings about the United States among the general Iranian population, then the sanctions have succeeded. But if the intention of these sanctions were to bring it on to the negotiating table, that's not what they achieved," the foreign minister insisted.
A broad framework agreement was signed by Iran and the U.S. early this month, clearing the way for negotiators to hammer out the technical details ahead of a June 30 deadline for a final deal.