The United States said Friday it still hopes that an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program could be reached in Geneva.
“We hope that an agreement can be reached,” White House spokesperson Jay Carney told reporters.
“The Iranians decided they were not able come to an agreement in the previous round, but we remain hopeful that we can reach an agreement with all of our P-5 plus one allies and the Iranians in Geneva,” he added.
Meanwhile, diplomats said on Friday that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is tentatively planning to join the talks in Geneva, but has not confirmed his plans and could still pull out.
Diplomats close to the talks told Reuters that foreign ministers from the six powers would come to Geneva if negotiators were close to reaching an interim deal to curb Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for limited relief from international sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has already arrived in Geneva for the meetings, becoming the first Foreign Minister representing the six countries negotiating with Iran to do so.
The United States has insisted over the past several weeks that a deal being worked out with Iran is a good one and has pulled out all stops to play down concerns by Israel that the deal gives Iran too much while it provides almost nothing in return.
A top White House official declared this week that Israel’s proposal that Iran totally dismantle its nuclear capacity in exchange for sanctions relief would likely lead to war.
Israel’s warnings against the deal being offered to Iran have put it at odds with the Obama administration and has led to a public war of words between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Kerry.
Kerry said earlier this week that Israel has “every right” to voice opposition to a potential nuclear deal with Iran.
At the same time, he told reporters, Netanyahu’s fear that a deal would leave Israel vulnerable is unfounded.
Kerry has reportedly gone so far as to instruct senators to ignore any assessments by Israel regarding the Iranian issue. According to some reports, the U.S. administration has been frustrated with Netanyahu’s warnings to the point that President Barack Obama has been refusing to accept Netanyahu’s phone calls.
On Friday, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani urged the world to ignore Israel and sign a deal with his country.
“The world powers should reach an independent decision that is disconnected from Israel’s position,” Rouhani tweeted.
“Israel is only concerned about its own interests, and it does not think about the interests of the world,” he charged.