Global Security Newswire
Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues
Kerry Enters Iran Meeting Ahead of Possible Agreement
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to Geneva on Friday to try to iron out differences between Iran and six major governments on a possible agreement to pause atomic activities in the Middle Eastern nation.
"We hope to try to narrow those differences," Kerry told reporters before joining the talks bringing senior diplomats from the Persian Gulf power together with counterparts from the five permanent U.N. Security Council member nations and Germany. "But I don’t think anybody should mistake that there are some important gaps that have to be closed."
The so-called "P-5+1" nations want an initial deal that would begin to address concerns that Iran's ostensibly nonmilitary nuclear program is geared toward development of an arms capability. In a Wednesday news conference, a senior Obama administration official said the powers want "an initial understanding that stops Iran’s nuclear program from moving forward ... and that potentially rolls part of it back."
Tehran, for its part, is seeking relief from sanctions and other punitive measures that have taken an increasing toll on the Iranian economy.
Before traveling to Geneva, Kerry conferred on Friday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a vocal critic of the proposed accord, the Associated Press reported.
"This is a very bad deal and Israel utterly rejects it," Netanyahu told journalists in Tel Aviv before meeting with the top U.S. diplomat. "[Iran] wanted relief of sanctions after years of grueling sanctions, they got that. They paid nothing because they are not reducing in any way their nuclear enrichment capability."
"Israel is not obliged by this agreement and Israel will do everything it needs to do to defend itself and defend the security of its people," Netanyahu said. The Israeli prime minister has periodically suggested his country could take unilateral military action to set back Iran's nuclear progress.
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