Kerry: I respect Natanyahu's concerns, Iran will never get nuclear weapons
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrives on Capitol Hill before he briefs members of the Senate Banking Committee behind closed doors about Iran and his recent negotiations in Europe, November 13, 2013. [REUTERS]
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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reiterated here Thursday the call on the Congress to give him more time to negotiate and present a good deal regarding nuclear talks with Iran.
"The core sanctions regime does not really get eased," the US top diplomat said in an interview with MSNBC.
"Ninety-five percent or more of the current sanctions will remain in place, " he indicated.
Iran's income of about USD 110 billion to USD 120 a year from its oil revenues and banking has been "knocked down to about USD 40 (billion) to USD 45 billion now because of the sanctions. And that USD 45 billion is frozen in banks around the world. They can't access it," Kerry noted.
"All we're talking about doing is a tiny portion of that would be released, because you have to do something in order to make it worthwhile for them to say yes, we're going to lock our program where it is in today and actually roll it back," he stressed.
He added "increasing the sanctions would be viewed by Iran as a bad-faith step by the United States."
Meanwhile, Kerry said he spoke this morning to Israeli's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and that "we're having a very friendly and civil conversation about this."
"I respect completely his (Netanyahu) deep concerns, as a prime minister of Israel should have, about the existential nature of this threat to Israel. We understand that, which is why President Obama has made this firm commitment that Iran will never get a nuclear weapon," he affirmed.
He added "what we agree on, what we disagree on is not the goal. We all agree on the goal. We disagree on a tactic."
"We believe that you need to take this first step and that you will not get Iran to simply surrender and believe you're dealing in good faith if, after two years of negotiating, you don't follow through on -- what's on the table," Kerry remarked.
He said "what's important here is we stand with Israel firmly, 100 percent. There's no distance between us about the danger of this program. And the end game for us is exactly the same. Iran cannot have a peaceful nuclear program."
"That is, in fact, a deceptive program or a program geared to allow them breakout. There have to be fail-safe mechanisms, absolute clarity about the processes which will guarantee it is a peaceful program. That's our mutual goal," he stressed
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