NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Iran’s nuclear program is the talk of major world powers in Switzerland. There was talk of a breakthrough, but as of early Friday evening, there was still no deal.
Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Geneva to broker a deal to end the nuclear standoff with Iran. Despite earlier optimism, he said there are still major stumbling blocks, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported.
“We hope to try to narrow the differences, but I don’t think anyone should miss that there are important gaps that need to be closed,” Kerry said.
Before flying to Geneva, Kerry went to Israel to brief Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was furious that the deal doesn’t totally shut down the Iranian nuclear program, which, he says, would still be able to make atomic bombs to use against the Jewish state.
“It’s a very bad deal. Iran is not required to take apart even one centrifuge, but the international community is relieving sanctions in Iran for the first time in many years,” Netanyahu said.
The talks focus on lifting some of the sanctions, which have slashed Iranian oil sales by 60 percent in the last two years. In exchange, the Iranians are reportedly willing to slightly reduce the size and output of its enrichment program.
“The deal as described would set them back 24 days,” said Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents.
That means in a little more than three weeks the Iranians could make a bomb to launch at Israel, which is why Netanyahu is so angry.
“It’s the deal of the century for Iran and it’s very dangerous and bad deal for peace and the international community,” Netanyahu said.
With the White House anxious for a foreign policy victory, Kerry said he’s willing to try anything to bridge the divide.
“It seems to me we have an obligation to the world that before we use force we have to exhaust every effort of diplomacy,” Kerry said.
Wary of criticism, the White House is trying to say there would only be a modest lifting of economic sanctions in what is regarded as a “first step” in ending Iran’s nuclear program.
It would include unfreezing some $50 billion in overseas accounts and lifting restrictions on petrochemicals, gold and other precious metals.
Sanctions on Iran’s oil exports and financial sector would reportedly remain, Kramer reported.
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