US & Iran Make 'Progress' Following Netanyahu Warnings

Wed Mar 4, 2015 17:42:42

The fourth round of talks between Iran and US delegations headed by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and US Secretary of State John Kerry ended minutes ago in Montreux, Switzerland.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif on Wednesday (March 4) in Montreaux, Switzerland.

It is the third day in a row the two leaders have met as Kerry and Zarif as a late March deadline to achieve a framework nuclear agreement approaches.

In this round of talks, Head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi, US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, Iranian Deputies Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araqchi and Majid Takht-e-Ravanchi, US Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman and Deputy of EU foreign policy chief Helga Schmidt and President Hassan Rouhani's special advisor Hossein Fereydoun were present.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu waves following his address to a joint session of the US Congress on March 3, 2015 at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. Netanyahu was invited by House Speaker John Boehner to address Congress without informing the White House. AFP PHOTO

The meeting comes a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned U.S. President Barack Obama against accepting a nuclear deal with Iran that would be a "countdown to a potential nuclear nightmare" by a country that "will always be an enemy of America".

Netanyahu made the comments at a speech to the both chambers of the U.S. Congress in an appearance that has strained U.S.-Israeli relations and was boycotted by dozens of Obama's fellow Democrats.

Shortly after the Israeli prime minister ranted against the ongoing Iran nuclear talks, President Barack Obama told reports that Netanyahu 'did not offer any viable alternative.”

The US President said there was 'nothing new' in Netanyahu’s speech.

President Barack Obama makes a statement to the press after a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House March 3, 2015 in Washington, DC. Obama spoke about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's address to the US Congress earlier today. AFP PHOTO

After Kerry and Zarif meeting, "We have made some progress but have a lot of challenges yet ahead," a senior U.S. State Department official told reporters traveling with Kerry.

"President Hassan Rouhani: Iranian nuclear negotiators will never accept a deal that may violate the right of the Iranian nation."

Before this round of talks, Salehi and Moniz held a technical meeting, which last for one and half hours.

On Wednesday evening at 19 o'clock Montreux time, deputies foreign minister of Iran and three European countries of Britain, France and Germany will hold a meeting.

On Thursday, the same meeting will be held with other deputies foreign minister of the other members of Group 5+1 in Montreux, IRNA reports.

But in Tehran President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday that the Iranian nuclear negotiators will never accept a deal that may violate the right of the Iranian nation.

The president said that Iran is ready to demonstrate further transparency. However, he added that if the negotiations are after depriving Iran of its inalienable right to nuclear technology, Iran will not accept such an agreement.

Iran wants a deal that will benefit Iran, the region, and the whole world, Rouhani said.

Zarif said on Tuesday that Netanyahu's address was trying to affect negotiations over Iran's nuclear program and the creating tension and conflict doesn't help anyone.

After the talks in Switzerland, Kerry will fly to Saudi Arabia, where on Thursday he meets the Saudi new king Salman, and deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Nayef and foreign ministers of the six Persian Gulf Cooperation Council nations: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Kerry will try to reassure King Salman that any nuclear deal with Iran will be in Saudi interests, despite the kingdom's fears that it may boost Tehran's backing for Shi'ite Muslim groups in the region.

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