Kerry: Iran talks ‘could go either way’


(JTA) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Iran and the world powers have made “genuine progress” in negotiations on a nuclear deal but that it “could go either way.”

“We are not yet where we need to be on several of the most difficult issues,” Kerry told reporters Sunday in Vienna, Austria, following one-on-one talks with Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif. “And the truth is that while I completely agree with Foreign Minister Zarif that we have never been closer, at this point this negotiation could go either way.

“If hard choices get made in the next couple of days and made quickly, we could get an agreement this week. But if they are not made, we will not.”

Kerry said if there is no movement on a deal that the United States is “prepared to walk away.”

On Saturday, Hillary Rodham Clinton, the top contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, said she hopes that “a strong, verifiable deal will put the lid on Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions.” But she also warned that even with an agreement, “Iran’s aggressiveness will not end.”

“Even if we do get such a deal, we will still have major problems from Iran. They are the world’s chief sponsor of terrorism,” Clinton, the secretary of state during President Barack Obama’s first term, said at a campaign event in New Hampshire. “They use proxies like Hezbollah to sow discord and create insurgencies to destabilize governments. They are taking more and more control of a number of nations in the region and they pose an existential threat to Israel.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday strongly condemned the final negotiations push, calling it “a collapse, not a breakthrough.”

“The major powers’ concessions are increasing,” Netanyahu charged in a statement at the beginning of Sunday’s Cabinet meeting. “The deal being formulated will pave Iran’s path to the production of very many atomic bombs, and it will also channel to Iran hundreds of billions of dollars that will serve its aggression and terrorism campaigns in our region and around the world.”

Netanyahu called the deal “both a nonconventional threat and a very large conventional threat against Israel, the countries of the region and the world.”

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