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    Amid Signs of Deal, Kerry Heads to Iran Nuke Talks

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and other top Western diplomats are headed to Geneva for talks on Iran's nuclear program, amid signs an elusive deal is within reach.

    The State Department says it hopes Kerry's presence at the second day of talks Friday will "help narrow differences" between Iran and the six world powers.

    Before heading for the Swiss city, Kerry met in Tel Aviv with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who wants Iran's nuclear program completely dismantled.

    Speaking ahead of his meeting with Kerry, Netanyahu told reporters Iran "got everything and paid nothing" because it is not reducing in any way its nuclear enrichment capability.



    "Iran got the deal of the century and the international community got a bad deal. This is a very bad deal and Israel utterly rejects it."



    The foreign ministers of France, Germany and Britain also announced last-minute they are headed to join the negotiations, suggesting a deal is imminent.

    Both sides have reported progress at the talks, which are aimed at convincing Iran to scale back its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

    Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif told CNN on Thursday he believes an agreement can be reached before the close of negotiations Friday.

    In Washington, President Barack Obama said the deal being discussed would offer "modest relief" from the sanctions, but that most would stay in place.





    "We can provide them some very modest, relief, but keeping the sanctions architecture in place, keeping the core sanctions in place, so that if it turned out during the course of the six months when we're trying to resolve some these bigger issues that they're backing out of deal or they're not following through on it, or they're not willing to go forward and finish the job of giving us assurances that they're not developing a nuclear weapon, we can crank that dial back up."



    President Obama told NBC News there is a possibility of a phased agreement, the first part of which would stop Iran from further expanding its nuclear program.

    It is unclear what Iran is willing to concede. Foreign Minister Zarif said Tehran is not willing to suspend its uranium enrichment program entirely, but would consider scaling it back.

    This is the second meeting of the so-called P5+1 talks since Iranian President Hasan Rouhani took power in August, on promises of reaching a nuclear deal with the West.

    The United States and many other Western countries contend that Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons. Iran insists that its nuclear program is peaceful.

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    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
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