As fellow American officials met with allied and Iranian counterparts in Geneva, Switzerland, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday that all sides are closer than they've been in a long time on a nuclear deal. But they stressed it hasn't been reached yet.
"It's important to exhaust the remedies and possibilities of diplomacy," Kerry said from Washington. "We have the best chance we've had in a decade, we believe, to halt progress and roll back Iran's program."
The prospect of an agreement that could roll back some punitive measures against Iran in exchange for measures assuring that the Middle Eastern country isn't developing a nuclear weapon has met significant resistance. Some in Congress have voiced opposition, saying leaders in Tehran cannot be trusted. It's a sentiment echoed by Israel leaders, who insist Iran's program should be entirely dismantled, reports CNN's Jim Sciutto.
"In Moscow, lobbying Russia to force a tougher deal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cited the ongoing destruction of Syria's chemical weapons as a model. This sharp disagreement over Iran is causing deeper tension in the broader US-Israeli relationship," Sciutto says.
"Still, despite the split, administration officials maintain the two countries are on the same page when it comes to the final outcome."
Samantha Power, United States Ambassador to the United Nations, says negotiating with Iran is an important first step to establish trust "so as to obtain a more intrusive inspections regime." (SEE VIDEO BELOW)
"They have their own issues with us after decades of not having a relationship and so forth,” Powers says.
“They want to know we can also deliver on the back end of the deal. So we feel like we're getting a very good deal here, if we can secure this, which is to offer very modest, temporary and very reversible relief, in exchange for being able to see whether they're prepared to take that first step.”