John Kerry, en route to Geneva
John Kerry, en route to GenevaFlash90

An American official was quoted in Israeli media Thursday as saying that the talks on ameliorating the Iranian nuclear program now going on in Geneva could last longer than many expect. While the expectation among commentators has been that a deal would be quickly wrapped up, the official was quoted in the daily Ma'ariv newspaper as saying that the U.S. was “in no hurry” to wrap up a deal.

The West is attempting to convince Iran to, at the very least, agree to limit its enrichment of uranium, in exchange for a significant easing of the sanctions against the country.

In order for the U.S. to agree to ease sanctions on Iran, “the deal has to be a good one,” the official said. “This will be the first step towards an overall agreement. We hope we can reach such an agreement, but the discussions so far have been challenging.”

The U.S. understands Israel's concerns, the official said. “We have the same goals, but we differ on the methods to achieve the goal. We will continue our close consultation with Israel on this matter,” the official said, adding that even if a deal was worked out, the removal of the sanctions will be “very limited.”

Israel earlier this week expressed skepticism at the talks. Israeli sources said that it appeared that the deal was close to being approved, but that Jerusalem still had hopes that it could convince some of the countries to maintain a tough stance on Iran's programs.

An agreement was said to be close in the last round of talks over a week ago, but was scuttled over concerns raised by France that the guarantees given by Iran that it would fulfill its end of the bargain were not substantial enough.