November 8th, 2013
10:28 AM ET

Iran talks: Expect 'Breakthrough'

Amid increasing optimism that a deal could be within reach, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabious are heading to Geneva to help in negotiations over Iran's nuclear program.

Kerry will fly to Geneva on Friday "in an effort to help narrow differences in negotiations" with Iran, two senior State Department officials said. European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton invited Kerry to the talks, the officials said.

News of travel plans for Kerry and Fabious came hours after Iran's foreign minister said that officials could reach an agreement by Friday evening, CNN's Jim Sciutto reports.

"I believe it is possible to reach an understanding or an agreement before we close these negotiations (Friday) evening," Iran's foreign minister and chief nuclear negotiator, Javad Zarif, told CNN's Christiane Amanpour.

Though he would not detail what such an agreement could include, he told the state-run Iranian News Agency, "We expect to make a breakthrough."

U.S. President Barack Obama also said Thursday night that a deal could be reached.

There is the "possibility of a phased agreement" with Iran on nuclear issues, Obama told NBC. The first step, if agreed upon, would require Iran to halt advances in its nuclear program in return for "very modest relief" from economic sanctions, he said.

But the United States would still keep "core sanctions" in place, Obama said.

Former Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman explained the perspective of Israel in these negotiations on "New Day" Friday.  Harman said:

“It’s true the Israeli’s are skeptical, but of course they’re going to be skeptical, Iran is an existential threat to Israel and they have to be able to protect themselves. But John Kerry has 25 years of experience dealing with Benjamin Netanyahu, who is not the only leader in Israel who has an opinion about this. Lots of others think this is a good first step.”


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