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Kerry: 'Verification is the key' in Iran nuclear deal

10:44 AM, Nov 24, 2013   |    comments
Secretary of State John Kerry speaks about the situation in Syria from the Treaty Room at the State Department in Washington, D.C., on Friday.(Photo: Saul Loeb, AFP/Getty Images)
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Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday that the prospect of a final nuclear deal with Iran is "not a question of trust," but of verification that the Iranians are giving up the prospect of nuclear weapons.

Appearing on CNN's State of the Union, Kerry said, "Verification is the key ... while we negotiate the comprehensive deal," adding that the United States enters into more negotiations with Iran "with eyes absolutely wide open."

"We have no illusions," Kerry added.

Six world powers reached an interim agreement late Saturday night with Iran on its disputed nuclear program after four days of talks in Geneva.

In the six-month interim deal, Iran agreed to limit nuclear activities in return for relief of up to $7 billion in sanctions that have hurt its economy.

Kerry promoted the interim Iran agreement on Sunday talk shows, reaching out to critics in Israel and stressing that Tehran must prove its willingness to forgo nuclear weapons.

"Israel and the United States absolutely share the same goal here," Kerry said on ABC's This Week. "There is no daylight between us with respect to what we want to achieve, at this point. We both want to make it certain Iran cannot have a nuclear weapon. And Iran cannot be in a place where they can break out and suddenly get that nuclear weapon."

Kerry spoke as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the agreement reached by the U.S. and allied negotiators.

"What was reached last night in Geneva is not a historic agreement, it is a historic mistake," Netanyahu said. "Today the world became a much more dangerous place because the most dangerous regime in the world made a significant step in obtaining the most dangerous weapons in the world."

Congressional critics have also expressed skepticism about Iran's trustworthiness.

Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., top Democrat on the House Foreign Relations Committee, said the interim agreement should have forced Iran to give up nuclear enrichment now. He called the agreement "disappointing" during an appearance on CNN.

Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., the committee chairman, denounced the agreement, telling CNN's State of the Union that Iran is "a state sponsor of terrorism trying to get a bomb."

Iran says its enrichment program is designed to generate energy for peaceful domestic purposes.

USA Today

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