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Kerry: Iran's Uranium Enrichment Will be Decided Later

Secretary of State says the issue of whether Iran will ultimately be allowed to enrich uranium will not be decided in an interim deal.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/21/2013, 3:13 AM

John Kerry
John Kerry
AFP photo

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday the issue of whether Iran will ultimately be allowed to enrich uranium will not be decided in an interim deal under discussion between major world powers and Iranian officials in Geneva.

"Whatever a country decides or doesn't decide to do, or is allowed to do under the rules, depends on a negotiation," Kerry was quoted by Reuters as having told reporters.

"We are at the initial stage of determining whether or not there is a first step that could be taken, and that certainly will not be resolved in any first step, I can assure you," he declared.

The comments come as representatives from Iran and the six world powers gathered in Geneva for the latest round of talks regarding Iran’s controversial nuclear program.

Iran’s chief negotiator, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, has repeatedly stressed that Iran will not give up on its right to enrich uranium. Earlier this week, however, he said that Iran would not insist that others recognize this right.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was in Moscow for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, where he insisted on the need for a "real" solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis.

Netanyahu's visit to Moscow was seen as a last-minute bid to influence an emerging nuclear deal being discussed by world powers and Iranian diplomats in Geneva, a deal strongly opposed by the Jewish state.

"We would all like a diplomatic solution, but it needs to be a real solution," said Netanyahu, adding that this would involve Iran halting nuclear work in the same way as Syria was allowing its chemical weapons arsenal to be destroyed.

Iran would have to halt uranium enrichment, stop work on centrifuges, have enriched uranium material taken out from Iran and dismantle the Arak heavy water reactor, he said.

In remarks he made earlier, Kerry vowed that the United States would not let any deal with Iran become a ploy to buy time to increase its nuclear capability

Kerry said the negotiations continuing in Geneva were the "best chance in a decade... to halt progress and roll back Iran's program."

On Monday, Kerry said that Israel has "every right" to voice opposition to a potential nuclear deal with Iran but declared that Netanyahu’s fears were unfounded.