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Kerry Mounts Diplomatic Push on Iran nuclear talks

Top U.S., European Envoys Meet In Geneva for Nuclear Talks

  • US Secretary of State John Kerry smiles  as he  arrives at Geneva International airport, Switzerland Friday  Nov. 8, 2013  for closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices.  Four world powers are dispatching their top diplomats to Geneva on Friday to add their weight to negotiations aimed at putting initial limits on Iran's ability to make atomic weapons. French, British and German foreign ministers are joining U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, who is  coming "to help narrow differences in negotiations," according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. (AP Photo//Denis Balibouse,Pool)

    US Secretary of State John Kerry smiles as he arrives at Geneva International airport, Switzerland Friday Nov. 8, 2013 for closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices. Four world powers are dispatching their top diplomats to Geneva on Friday to add their weight to negotiations aimed at putting initial limits on Iran's ability to make atomic weapons. French, British and German foreign ministers are joining U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, who is coming "to help narrow differences in negotiations," according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. (AP Photo//Denis Balibouse,Pool)

  • Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, leaves the hotel at the second day of closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices in Geneva Switzerland, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013 U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned Friday of significant differences between Iran and six world powers trying to fashion a nuclear agreement, as he and three European foreign ministers added their weight to try to narrow the gap. Officials with delegations at the negotiating table had expressed optimism about progress achieved in Thursday's full day of talks. But comments from Kerry and his counterparts from Britain, France and Germany after they arrived in Geneva clearly indicated that some obstacles remain in the way of any agreement offering sanctions reductions for nuclear concessions. (AP Photo/Martial Trezzin,Pooli)

    Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, leaves the hotel at the second day of closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices in Geneva Switzerland, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013 U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned Friday of significant differences between Iran and six world powers trying to fashion a nuclear agreement, as he and three European foreign ministers added their weight to try to narrow the gap. Officials with delegations at the negotiating table had expressed optimism about progress achieved in Thursday's full day of talks. But comments from Kerry and his counterparts from Britain, France and Germany after they arrived in Geneva clearly indicated that some obstacles remain in the way of any agreement offering sanctions reductions for nuclear concessions. (AP Photo/Martial Trezzin,Pooli)

  • EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, leaves the hotel, during  closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices in Geneva Switzerland, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013.  Four world powers are dispatching their top diplomats to Geneva on Friday to add their weight to negotiations aimed at putting initial limits on Iran's ability to make atomic weapons. French, British and German foreign ministers are joining U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, who  is  coming "to help narrow differences in negotiations," according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. (AP Photo/Martial Trezzini,Pool)

    EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, leaves the hotel, during closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices in Geneva Switzerland, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013. Four world powers are dispatching their top diplomats to Geneva on Friday to add their weight to negotiations aimed at putting initial limits on Iran's ability to make atomic weapons. French, British and German foreign ministers are joining U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, who is coming "to help narrow differences in negotiations," according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. (AP Photo/Martial Trezzini,Pool)

  • US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives for closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices in Geneva Switzerland, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013.   Four world powers are dispatching their top diplomats to Geneva on Friday to add their weight to negotiations aimed at putting initial limits on Iran's ability to make atomic weapons. French, British and German foreign ministers are joining U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, who is  coming "to help narrow differences in negotiations," according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. (AP Photo/Martial Trezzini,Pool)

    US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives for closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices in Geneva Switzerland, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013. Four world powers are dispatching their top diplomats to Geneva on Friday to add their weight to negotiations aimed at putting initial limits on Iran's ability to make atomic weapons. French, British and German foreign ministers are joining U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, who is coming "to help narrow differences in negotiations," according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. (AP Photo/Martial Trezzini,Pool)

  • US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives for closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices in Geneva Switzerland, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013.  Kerry says there is no nuclear deal yet with Iran, but he's hoping to narrow gaps during negotiations. Kerry is in Geneva for talks aimed at putting limits on Iran's ability to make nuclear weapons. Kerry says there important issues remain unresolved. (AP Photo/Martial Trezzin,Pooli)

    US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives for closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices in Geneva Switzerland, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013. Kerry says there is no nuclear deal yet with Iran, but he's hoping to narrow gaps during negotiations. Kerry is in Geneva for talks aimed at putting limits on Iran's ability to make nuclear weapons. Kerry says there important issues remain unresolved. (AP Photo/Martial Trezzin,Pooli)

  • US Secretary of State John Kerry laughs as he  arrives at Geneva International airport, Switzerland Friday  Nov.  8, 2013  for closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices.  Four world powers are dispatching their top diplomats to Geneva on Friday to add their weight to negotiations aimed at putting initial limits on Iran's ability to make atomic weapons. French, British and German foreign ministers are joining U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, who is  coming "to help narrow differences in negotiations," according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. (AP Photo//Denis Balibouse,Pool)

    US Secretary of State John Kerry laughs as he arrives at Geneva International airport, Switzerland Friday Nov. 8, 2013 for closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices. Four world powers are dispatching their top diplomats to Geneva on Friday to add their weight to negotiations aimed at putting initial limits on Iran's ability to make atomic weapons. French, British and German foreign ministers are joining U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, who is coming "to help narrow differences in negotiations," according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. (AP Photo//Denis Balibouse,Pool)

  • Jean-Luc Chopard, Geneva head of Protocol, right, welcomes US Secretary of State John Kerry, left, at his arrival for closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013.  Four world powers are dispatching their top diplomats to Geneva on Friday to add their weight to negotiations aimed at putting initial limits on Iran's ability to make atomic weapons. French, British and German foreign ministers are joining U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, who is e coming "to help narrow differences in negotiations," according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. (AP Photo/Denis Balibouse,Pool)

    Jean-Luc Chopard, Geneva head of Protocol, right, welcomes US Secretary of State John Kerry, left, at his arrival for closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013. Four world powers are dispatching their top diplomats to Geneva on Friday to add their weight to negotiations aimed at putting initial limits on Iran's ability to make atomic weapons. French, British and German foreign ministers are joining U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, who is e coming "to help narrow differences in negotiations," according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. (AP Photo/Denis Balibouse,Pool)

  • French foreign minister Laurent Fabius arrives for the second day of closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013. Four world powers are dispatching their top diplomats to Geneva on Friday to add their weight to negotiations aimed at putting initial limits on Iran's ability to make atomic weapons. French, British and German foreign ministers are joining U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, who will be coming "to help narrow differences in negotiations," according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. (AP Photo/Martial Trezzini, Pool)

    French foreign minister Laurent Fabius arrives for the second day of closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013. Four world powers are dispatching their top diplomats to Geneva on Friday to add their weight to negotiations aimed at putting initial limits on Iran's ability to make atomic weapons. French, British and German foreign ministers are joining U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, who will be coming "to help narrow differences in negotiations," according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. (AP Photo/Martial Trezzini, Pool)

  • French foreign minister Laurent Fabius arrives for the second day of closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013. Four world powers are dispatching their top diplomats to Geneva on Friday to add their weight to negotiations aimed at putting initial limits on Iran's ability to make atomic weapons. French, British and German foreign ministers are joining U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, who will be coming "to help narrow differences in negotiations," according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. (AP Photo/Martial Trezzini, Pool)

    French foreign minister Laurent Fabius arrives for the second day of closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013. Four world powers are dispatching their top diplomats to Geneva on Friday to add their weight to negotiations aimed at putting initial limits on Iran's ability to make atomic weapons. French, British and German foreign ministers are joining U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, who will be coming "to help narrow differences in negotiations," according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. (AP Photo/Martial Trezzini, Pool)

  • EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton, left, welcomes French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, right, during the second day of closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013. Four world powers are dispatching their top diplomats to Geneva on Friday to add their weight to negotiations aimed at putting initial limits on Iran's ability to make atomic weapons. French, British and German foreign ministers are joining U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, who will be coming "to help narrow differences in negotiations," according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. (AP Photo/Martial Trezzini, Pool)

    EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton, left, welcomes French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, right, during the second day of closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013. Four world powers are dispatching their top diplomats to Geneva on Friday to add their weight to negotiations aimed at putting initial limits on Iran's ability to make atomic weapons. French, British and German foreign ministers are joining U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, who will be coming "to help narrow differences in negotiations," according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. (AP Photo/Martial Trezzini, Pool)

  • French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, center, arrives for the second day of closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013. Four world powers are dispatching their top diplomats to Geneva on Friday to add their weight to negotiations aimed at putting initial limits on Iran's ability to make atomic weapons. French, British and German foreign ministers are joining U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, who will be coming "to help narrow differences in negotiations," according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. (AP Photo/Martial Trezzini, Pool)

    French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, center, arrives for the second day of closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013. Four world powers are dispatching their top diplomats to Geneva on Friday to add their weight to negotiations aimed at putting initial limits on Iran's ability to make atomic weapons. French, British and German foreign ministers are joining U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, who will be coming "to help narrow differences in negotiations," according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. (AP Photo/Martial Trezzini, Pool)

  • US Secretary of State John Kerry  arrives at Geneva International airport Friday  Nov.  8, 2013. for closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices in Geneva, Switzerland.   Four world powers are dispatching their top diplomats to Geneva on Friday to add their weight to negotiations aimed at putting initial limits on Iran's ability to make atomic weapons. French, British and German foreign ministers are joining U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, who is  coming "to help narrow differences in negotiations," according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.  (AP Photo//Denis Balibouse,Pool)

    US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives at Geneva International airport Friday Nov. 8, 2013. for closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices in Geneva, Switzerland. Four world powers are dispatching their top diplomats to Geneva on Friday to add their weight to negotiations aimed at putting initial limits on Iran's ability to make atomic weapons. French, British and German foreign ministers are joining U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, who is coming "to help narrow differences in negotiations," according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. (AP Photo//Denis Balibouse,Pool)

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry  shakes hands with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton before their meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif  in Geneva, Friday Nov. 8, 2013.  (AP Photo/Jason Reed, Pool)

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton before their meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Geneva, Friday Nov. 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Jason Reed, Pool)

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry  walks with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton before their meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif  in Geneva, Friday Nov. 8, 2013.  (AP Photo/Jason Reed, Pool)

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry walks with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton before their meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Geneva, Friday Nov. 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Jason Reed, Pool)

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry  walks with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton before their meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif  in Geneva, Friday Nov. 8, 2013.  (AP Photo/Jason Reed, Pool)

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry walks with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton before their meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Geneva, Friday Nov. 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Jason Reed, Pool)

  • US Secretary of State John Kerry smiles  as he  arrives at Geneva International airport, Switzerland Friday  Nov. 8, 2013  for closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices.  Four world powers are dispatching their top diplomats to Geneva on Friday to add their weight to negotiations aimed at putting initial limits on Iran's ability to make atomic weapons. French, British and German foreign ministers are joining U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, who is  coming "to help narrow differences in negotiations," according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. (AP Photo//Denis Balibouse,Pool)
  • Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, leaves the hotel at the second day of closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices in Geneva Switzerland, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013 U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned Friday of significant differences between Iran and six world powers trying to fashion a nuclear agreement, as he and three European foreign ministers added their weight to try to narrow the gap. Officials with delegations at the negotiating table had expressed optimism about progress achieved in Thursday's full day of talks. But comments from Kerry and his counterparts from Britain, France and Germany after they arrived in Geneva clearly indicated that some obstacles remain in the way of any agreement offering sanctions reductions for nuclear concessions. (AP Photo/Martial Trezzin,Pooli)
  • EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, leaves the hotel, during  closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices in Geneva Switzerland, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013.  Four world powers are dispatching their top diplomats to Geneva on Friday to add their weight to negotiations aimed at putting initial limits on Iran's ability to make atomic weapons. French, British and German foreign ministers are joining U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, who  is  coming "to help narrow differences in negotiations," according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. (AP Photo/Martial Trezzini,Pool)
  • US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives for closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices in Geneva Switzerland, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013.   Four world powers are dispatching their top diplomats to Geneva on Friday to add their weight to negotiations aimed at putting initial limits on Iran's ability to make atomic weapons. French, British and German foreign ministers are joining U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, who is  coming "to help narrow differences in negotiations," according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. (AP Photo/Martial Trezzini,Pool)
  • US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives for closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices in Geneva Switzerland, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013.  Kerry says there is no nuclear deal yet with Iran, but he's hoping to narrow gaps during negotiations. Kerry is in Geneva for talks aimed at putting limits on Iran's ability to make nuclear weapons. Kerry says there important issues remain unresolved. (AP Photo/Martial Trezzin,Pooli)
  • US Secretary of State John Kerry laughs as he  arrives at Geneva International airport, Switzerland Friday  Nov.  8, 2013  for closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices.  Four world powers are dispatching their top diplomats to Geneva on Friday to add their weight to negotiations aimed at putting initial limits on Iran's ability to make atomic weapons. French, British and German foreign ministers are joining U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, who is  coming "to help narrow differences in negotiations," according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. (AP Photo//Denis Balibouse,Pool)
  • Jean-Luc Chopard, Geneva head of Protocol, right, welcomes US Secretary of State John Kerry, left, at his arrival for closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013.  Four world powers are dispatching their top diplomats to Geneva on Friday to add their weight to negotiations aimed at putting initial limits on Iran's ability to make atomic weapons. French, British and German foreign ministers are joining U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, who is e coming "to help narrow differences in negotiations," according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. (AP Photo/Denis Balibouse,Pool)
  • French foreign minister Laurent Fabius arrives for the second day of closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013. Four world powers are dispatching their top diplomats to Geneva on Friday to add their weight to negotiations aimed at putting initial limits on Iran's ability to make atomic weapons. French, British and German foreign ministers are joining U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, who will be coming "to help narrow differences in negotiations," according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. (AP Photo/Martial Trezzini, Pool)
  • French foreign minister Laurent Fabius arrives for the second day of closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013. Four world powers are dispatching their top diplomats to Geneva on Friday to add their weight to negotiations aimed at putting initial limits on Iran's ability to make atomic weapons. French, British and German foreign ministers are joining U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, who will be coming "to help narrow differences in negotiations," according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. (AP Photo/Martial Trezzini, Pool)
  • EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton, left, welcomes French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, right, during the second day of closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013. Four world powers are dispatching their top diplomats to Geneva on Friday to add their weight to negotiations aimed at putting initial limits on Iran's ability to make atomic weapons. French, British and German foreign ministers are joining U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, who will be coming "to help narrow differences in negotiations," according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. (AP Photo/Martial Trezzini, Pool)
  • French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, center, arrives for the second day of closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013. Four world powers are dispatching their top diplomats to Geneva on Friday to add their weight to negotiations aimed at putting initial limits on Iran's ability to make atomic weapons. French, British and German foreign ministers are joining U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, who will be coming "to help narrow differences in negotiations," according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. (AP Photo/Martial Trezzini, Pool)
  • US Secretary of State John Kerry  arrives at Geneva International airport Friday  Nov.  8, 2013. for closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices in Geneva, Switzerland.   Four world powers are dispatching their top diplomats to Geneva on Friday to add their weight to negotiations aimed at putting initial limits on Iran's ability to make atomic weapons. French, British and German foreign ministers are joining U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, who is  coming "to help narrow differences in negotiations," according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.  (AP Photo//Denis Balibouse,Pool)
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry  shakes hands with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton before their meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif  in Geneva, Friday Nov. 8, 2013.  (AP Photo/Jason Reed, Pool)
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry  walks with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton before their meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif  in Geneva, Friday Nov. 8, 2013.  (AP Photo/Jason Reed, Pool)
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry  walks with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton before their meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif  in Geneva, Friday Nov. 8, 2013.  (AP Photo/Jason Reed, Pool)

Geneva — With a boost from Russia and China, Secretary of State John Kerry mounted a major diplomatic push Friday to reach an interim nuclear deal with Iran, despite fierce opposition from Israel and uncertainty in Congress.

Kerry and his counterparts from Britain, France and Germany had arrived in Geneva with the talks at a critical stage following a full day of negotiations Thursday and said some obstacles remained in the way of any agreement offering sanctions reductions for nuclear concessions.

Word that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and a Chinese deputy foreign minister also were headed to the talks provided fresh hope for at least an interim deal, perhaps on Saturday.

But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted any agreement in the making was a “bad deal” that he said gave Iran a pass by offering to lift sanctions for cosmetic concessions that Netanyahu said left intact Tehran’s nuclear weapons-making ability.

Asked about Netanyahu’s criticism, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said “any critique of the deal is premature” because an agreement has not been reached.

The White House later said President Obama called Netanyahu to update him on the ongoing talks and said Obama affirmed he’s still committed to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. The White House said Obama and Netanyahu will stay in close contact.

Kerry tempered reports of progress, warning of “important gaps” that must be overcome in the elusive deal that would offer limited sanctions relief if Iran starts capping programs that could make atomic arms.

Lavrov also was joining the talks, Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency reported. His deputy, Sergei Ryabov, was quoted as saying that Moscow expects them to produce a “lasting result expected by the international community.”

A Western diplomat in Geneva told The Associated Press that China is sending a deputy foreign minister to the talks. The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to provide such information.

“We are reaching a very critical important point,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said in comments broadcast on Iranian PressTV.

“The negotiations have reached its critical, very sensitive situation, and it needs decisions at higher levels,” he said, a reference to the arrival of the foreign ministers.

Any agreement would be a breakthrough after nearly a decade of mostly inconclusive talks, but would only be the start of a long process to reduce Iran’s potential ability to produce nuclear arms, with no guarantee of ultimate success.

Kerry arrived from Tel Aviv after meeting Netanyahu and trying to defuse concerns. Israel is strongly critical of any deal that even slightly lifts sanctions unless Iran is totally stripped of technology that can make nuclear arms.

The talks primarily focus on the size and output of Iran’s enrichment program, which can create both reactor fuel and weapons-grade material suitable for a nuclear bomb. Iran insists it is pursuing only nuclear energy, medical treatments and research, but the U.S. and its allies fear that Iran could turn this material into the fissile core of nuclear warheads.

Kerry said there were “some very important issues on the table that are unresolved.”