Big power ministers meet in Geneva in hopes for Iran nuclear deal
Friday, November 08, 2013 - 01:51
Nov. 8 - Western powers meet in Geneva to help clinch an interim nuclear deal with Iran and ease a decade-old standoff. Mana Rabiee reports.
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PLEASE NOTE THIS EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3
Iran and six world powers may be edging towards a nuclear deal.
Their top diplomats, including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, were in Geneva on Friday to help clinch an interim agreement over Tehran's disputed nuclear activities.
The tone seemed hopeful but cautious.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY SAYING:
"We hope to try to narrow those differences but I don't think anyone should mistake that there are some important gaps that have to be closed."
The deal would lift some of the economic sanctions against Iran if it takes verifiable steps to limit its nuclear program.
In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov seemed more optimistic that a roadmap could be reached.
(SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER, SERGEI LAVROV, SAYING:
"The reports we are getting from Geneva give us that hope."
The spokesman for European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said all sides were working "intensely" to advance the talks.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, too, said some progress had been made -- but that discussions were "tough".
(SOUNDBITE) (Farsi) IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER, MOHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIF, SAYING:
"We can see that the ministers are eager to participate, and we have to see what the results will bring."
The prospect of easing sanctions troubles many in Israel, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Kerry three times in just 48 hours before his departure for Geneva.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, SAYING:
"Iran gets everything that it wanted at this stage and it pays nothing and this is when Iran is under severe pressure. I urged Secretary Kerry not to rush to sign, to wait, to reconsider. To get a good deal."
Kerry is to meet with his Iranian counterpart on Friday.
If successful, the long-elusive nuclear agreement could finally end a decade-long standoff with Iran.
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