Secretary of State John Kerry is traveling to Geneva on Friday in hopes of reaching an initial deal with Iran on its nuclear program, The New York Times reports.
Iran, Germany, and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council — China, France, Russia, the U.K, and the U.S. — have held discussions in Geneva since Thursday.
Kerry was invited by Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, “to help narrow differences,” a State Department official said. U.S. officials are hoping to reach the first phase of a deal, which would have Iran temporarily suspending any advancement of its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of some of the economic sanctions against the country.
“We are asking them to step up and provide a complete freeze over where they are today,” Kerry said on Thursday. “Iran knows that if they don’t meet the standards of the international community, the sanctions could be increased and even worse.”
Iranian officials have expressed hope that a deal could be announced on Friday, but some U.S. allies have voiced their hesitation. On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said such an agreement would be a “grievous historic error.”