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Kerry: 'high-stakes diplomatic push' lies ahead of reaching deal on Iran

US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday that he hopes to complete an accord to freeze Iran's nuclear program, but he affirmed that a "high-stakes diplomatic push" is still lying ahead of a quick resolution.


After arriving in Geneva, Kerry told reporters: "I would like to confirm that there has been no deal until now." He added: "I think no one doubts that there are many important gaps that are necessary to be bridged."

In the second stage of negotiations since the elections of new, moderate, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who opened the door ahead of a peaceful settlement for the nuclear issue, Kerry was joined by his counterparts from Britain, France and Germany.

The Russian and Chinese foreign ministers are expected to arrive on Saturday.

Five permanent members of the UNSC, plus Germany, have united as a diplomatic bloc in the negotiations with Iran.

Diplomats said that it had been confirmed that there could be a resolution for the issue, but this stage is a mere first step in a long and complex way ahead of permanent solution.

There is plan which was expected to lay out a series of reciprocal steps intended to pave the way for further negotiations.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the ultimate goal is a comprehensive deal that ensures Iran will give up its nuclear ambitions in exchange for the US and other governments lifting sanctions that have strangled Iran's economy.

US Congressmen and Israeli officials, who criticised the plan, warned that a modest "first step" agreement would relieve too much pressure on Iran if it did not require a halt to all uranium enrichment during the expected six months of final negotiations.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticised the plan saying: "The Iranians are walking around very satisfied in Geneva as well they should be… Iran got the deal of the century and the international community got a bad deal."

In a counter measure, US President Barack Obama phoned Netanyahu and updated him on the negotiations "and underscored his strong commitment to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon."

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