U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that the major powers were unified on an Iran nuclear deal during weekend talks in Geneva but the Iranians were unable to accept it. He also said critics of the diplomatic effort should withhold their comments until a deal is reached.
Earlier reports said that the talks came apart because France refused to accept the deal with Iran.
Netanyahu has repeatedly criticized what he considers readiness by the six powers involved in the talks to be too generous to Iran and has aggressively campaigned against an agreement. But Kerry reasserted the U.S. commitment to Israel, saying the United States would not allow Iran to develop a nuclear bomb. Thus, Kerry tried to reassure Washington’s Arab allies and Israel that his country would not abandon them.
Kerry said there is no “end game” in motion and the Geneva talks were a first step in longer process of possible give and take.
Tehran has been eager to reach an agreement to ease international sanctions that have halted most oil exports and crippled the county’s economy.
But a key stumbling block has been Iran’s insistence that the international community recognize its “right” to enrich uranium as a signer of a U.N. treaty governing the spread of nuclear technology — also frequently pointing out that Israel has not signed the accord. Kerry’s comments challenge the Iranian view, but do not appear to significantly alter the currently Western effort that seeks to curb Iran’s ability to make its highest-enrich uranium but possibly leaving intact the country’s production of lower-level nuclear fuel.
In deal agreed on Monday aimed at improving transparency in Iran’s nuclear program, Tehran will grant U.N. inspectors “managed access” to a uranium mine and a heavy water plant within three months.
Under the technical accord signed by U.N. nuclear agency chief Yukiya Amano in Tehran, Iran will also provide information about planned new research reactors and sites for future nuclear power plants, as well as clarify earlier statements about additional uranium enrichment facilities.
Britain and Iran said they were reviving diplomatic ties two years after a mob of students attacked the British embassy in Tehran. Both sides said they were appointing a new charge d’affaires.
Britain closed the embassy in 2011 after a rally against British sanctions escalated into violence and protesters scaled the walls, ransacked offices and burned buildings.