Kerry Heading to Geneva for Talks Over Iran’s Nuclear Program

Officials are hoping the first phase of an agreement over Iran’s nuclear program can be reached Friday.

Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a press conference with the Jordanian Foreign Minister in the capital Amman on November 7, 2013. Kerry said he has made 'significant progress' in talks with Israelis and Palestinians, after reaffirming US opposition to Israeli settlements.
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Jordain Carney
Nov. 8, 2013, 4:47 a.m.

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.”

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