Kerry: Still confident US can conclude Iran nuclear deal

AP News
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Posted: Apr 15, 2015 11:22 AM
Kerry: Still confident US can conclude Iran nuclear deal

LUEBECK, Germany (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday he is confident that the U.S. administration can conclude a nuclear deal with Iran after President Barack Obama agreed to sign legislation giving Congress the right to reject an accord.

Kerry joined his counterparts from the Group of Seven industrial powers at a meeting in northern Germany on the gathering's second day, flying in overnight after discussing Iran with lawmakers in Washington.

"Yesterday there was a compromise reached in Washington regarding congressional input," Kerry told reporters in the Baltic Sea port of Luebeck. "We are confident about our ability for the president to negotiate an agreement, and to do so with the ability to make the world safer."

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who hosted the G-7 meeting, welcomed the deal between the U.S. administration and Congress.

"This is good because it preserves our chances of preparing a final agreement based on the framework agreement forged in Lausanne," Switzerland, he said after the meeting.

Steinmeier said diplomats would resume their talks next week so that foreign ministers can finalize the agreement with Iran again ahead of the June 30 deadline.

"The goal remains an Iran without nuclear weapons," he said. "We all hope that if after 12 years the dispute with Iran is resolved then this may be an incentive to resolve other conflicts." Iran is regarded as a key player in the conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Steinmeier said he was "a little bit surprised" by Russia's decision to deliver an air defense missile system to Iran in exchange for Iranian oil.

"We've been negotiating for 12 years and there's a chance that we might achieve a result in the next 2 ½ months, so I think one shouldn't take any hasty steps that might be misinterpreted by one side or the other," he said.

Asked about Russia's exclusion from the meeting, brought about by its support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, Steinmeier said he would welcome Moscow's return to what would be the G-8.

"I've got no interest, and as far as I know nobody else has an interest, in containing Russia. We would like Russia to be part of the G-8 again," he said, but added that such a move would be tied to Russia's cooperation in resolving the conflict in Ukraine.

Russia has denied accusations by the West that it is sending troops to eastern Ukraine and arming the rebels.

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Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed to this report.