Monday, November 18, 2013

Kerry Calls on Iran to Finalize Agreement at Geneva Talks

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry today called on Iran to finalize an agreement that can prove to the world its nuclear program is peaceful. Kerry said he had “no specific expectation” for the talks in Geneva on Wednesday between Iran and the six major powers.

Kerry made the comments in a joint news conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Washington.

“I have no specific expectations with respect to the negotiation in Geneva except that we will negotiate in good faith and we will try to get a first-step agreement,” Kerry said. (Reuters, 18 November)
Kerry added he hoped “Iran will understand the importance of coming there prepared to create a document that can prove to the world this is a peaceful program.” He declined to discuss details of a proposal under discussion.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Kerry is open to participating in the upcoming talks “only if it makes sense.” The language suggests that Kerry will go to Geneva if an agreement is expected to be reached.

Kerry also reassured Israel that the U.S. would have “great respect” for their concerns about a deal with Iran.
“Nothing that we are doing here, in my judgment, will put Israel at any additional risk - in fact, we believe it reduces risk,” Kerry said. “We believe it helps all of us move closer to this goal of achieving a comprehensive agreement.”

Meanwhile, the Obama administration will be meeting with Congressional leaders on Tuesday in an attempt to stop a move in Congress to impose new sanctions on Iran. Obama has argued that Congress needs to give negotiations a chance.
In Moscow, the Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin told Iranian President Hassan Rouhani by telephone on Monday there is a “real chance’ for a nuclear deal. (Reuters, 18 November)
Photo credit: Secretary of State John Kerry and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (L) arrive to speak to reporters at the State Department. 18 November 2013. (Reuters)

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