U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday said his team is working very hard to close remaining gaps so as to reach a deal that ensures Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively and verifiably peaceful.
The U.S. Secretary of State on Sunday flew again to Switzerland to attend the 28th Human Rights Council session opened here on Monday, as well as to meet again with Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, for a fresh around of talks over Iran’s long disputed nuclear program.
It is reported that Kerry’upcoming meeting with the Iranians on Monday in the Swiss lakeside town of Montreux will be his eighth negotiating session with them this year.
Just before addressing the High-Level Segment of the Human Rights Council on Monday morning, Kerry met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for some 80 minutes, spent “a fair amount of time” discussing Syria, Ukraine, ISIS, and Iran.
At a later press conference in Geneva, Kerry used about half of the time focusing on the Iran nuke talks, urging Iran to take more decisive steps to meet the requirements for reaching a final deal over its nuclear program.
“We have made some progress, but we still have a long way to go and the clock is ticking,” Kerry said, adding that “Unless Iran is able to make the difficult decisions that are required, there won’t be a deal.”
He told reporters that he hope it is possible to reach a solution, not just for today but that are capable of lasting well into the future, but there is no guarantee.
“We continue to believe, all the members of the P5+1, that the best way to deal with the questions surrounding this nuclear program is to find a comprehensive deal, but not a deal that comes at any cost, not a deal just for the purpose of a deal,” Kerry said, adding that “sanctions alone are not going to provide that solution”.
“Right now, no deal exists, no partial deal exists. Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. That is the standard by which this negotiation is taking place, and anyone who tells you otherwise is simply misinformed,” he said.
During the press conference Kerry made a warning respond to the reported Israeli prime minister’s intention to make public some of the details about the Iran nuke talks in his upcoming speech to U.S. Congress on Tuesday.
“We are concerned by reports that suggest selected details of the ongoing negotiations will be discussed publicly in the coming days,” Kerry said. “I want to say clearly, doing so would make it more difficult to reach the goal that Israel and others say they share in order to get a good deal.”
Israeli official have reportedly said that they knew about the emerging nuke agreement and that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would elaborate in his congressional address.
“Israel’s security is absolutely at the forefront of all of our minds, but frankly, so is the security of all the other countries in the region, so is our security in the United States,” Kerry told reporters, adding that any deal that would possibly agree to would make the international community, and especially Israel, safer than it is today.
Kerry ended the press conference by telling reporters that he will leave for another meeting with his Iranian counterpart “momentarily” to continue the negotiations.
The bilateral meeting will then be followed on Wednesday by senior diplomats from Iran and the P5+1 group, namely the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany.
Zarif said on the weekend before heading to Switzerland that the nuclear talks with the six world major countries has entered a “crucial stage”.
The last round of Iran unclear talks was held on Feb. 21-23 in Geneva, in which both Kerry and Zarif participated.
It has been over a year since Iran and the world’s major countries agreed to come back to the negotiating table for the Iranian nuclear program in 2013.
Under an interim deal between Iran and the P5+1 inked in November, 2013, Iran said it would suspend critical nuclear activities in return for limited ease of sanctions, with all sides seeking a comprehensive deal.
After missing twice self-imposed deadlines, the negotiators agreed in November 2014 to extend the deadline for another seven months, hoping to reach a deal which could be one of the most important and divisive international agreements in decades. Enditem