Kerry: U.S. ‘not blind, stupid’ in nuclear talks with Iran

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The United States is “not blind” in nuclear talks with Iran, Secretary of State John Kerry said in a U.S. television interview on Sunday, Agence France-Presse reported.

The top U.S. diplomat also insisted there is “zero gap” between the Obama administration and its commitment to Israel, with diplomatic relations between the two allies under strain over nuclear talks with Iran, AFP reported.

Kerry made his remarks in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” program after talks with world powers in Geneva failed to produce a deal to curb Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

“Some of the most serious and capable, expert people in our government, who have spent a lifetime dealing both with Iran as well as with nuclear weapon and nuclear armament and proliferation, are engaged in our negotiation,” AFP quoted Kerry as saying.

He added: “We are not blind, and I don’t think we're stupid.”

“I think we have a pretty strong sense of how to measure whether or not we are acting in the interests of our country and of the globe, and particularly of our allies like Israel and Gulf States and others in the region.”

Kerry also said that the United States is determined to ensure that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon.

“We came to Geneva determined to make certain that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon. That remains our goal,” Kerry said after three days of intensive negotiations between world powers and Iran.

While no deal was reached, Kerry insisted negotiators had “made significant progress,” in Geneva.

“There's no question in my mind that we are closer now [to a deal] as we leave Geneva,” he said.

Kerry’s comment came after EU diplomatic chief Catherine Ashton said the talks would reconvene on Nov. 20.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday he hoped Iran and the P5+1 countries would reach an agreement in their next meeting, adding that the latest round of talks was something all delegations can build on.

“We have done some intense negotiations and discussions and our objective is to reach a conclusion and that's what we will come back to try and do,” Zarif was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Iran’s President Hassan Rowhani had urged world powers not to miss an “exceptional opportunity” to reach an agreement in the Geneva talks.

“I hope that the P5+1 group make the most out of this exceptional opportunity that the Iranian nation has offered to the international community, so that we can reach a positive result within a reasonable timeframe,” he was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.

The Secretary of State had cut short his Middle East tour to attend the talks but insisted he was not discouraged to be leaving without an agreement.

“It takes time to build confidence between countries who have been really at odds for a long time,” he said, pointing to the standstill in diplomatic ties between Washington and Tehran since the 1979 Iranian revolution.

The P5+1 group of world powers, comprising permanent U.N. Security Council members - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States - plus Germany, suspect Iran's nuclear program is aimed at developing nuclear weapons, despite Tehran's repeated denials.

(With AFP and Reuters)

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