By CNN Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto
In a possible sign of a breakthrough, several top diplomats - including those from the United States, Russia, the European Union and Iran - met in or headed to Geneva on Friday for talks on Tehran's nuclear program.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that Secretary of State John Kerry would depart for the Swiss city "later today with the goal of continuing to help narrow the differences and move closer to an agreement." The American diplomat is expected to land there around 7:45 a.m. Saturday (1:45 a.m. ET), according to a Western official.
By CNN Foreign Affairs Reporter Elise Labott
Social work and community organizing may seem unlikely career experiences for a lead negotiator to draw on in high-stakes nuclear talks with Iran.
But in an interview before she headed to Geneva this week for the negotiations, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman joked that while her caseload may be more global now, the work is similar.
“Understanding who the person is across the table from you, watching the group dynamics and knowing when to intervene, scoping out situations and seeing where the points of leverage are and how you can reach your objective, are a set of skills I was trained with earlier in my life and have used in any setting I have been in,” Sherman said. “You have to understand what you’ve come to achieve but be very cognizant of all of the other pieces. You need a 360-degree view.”
By Jamie Crawford
They may have been directed to a domestic audience, but some offensive remarks from Iran's supreme leader drew heated responses from senior officials in the Obama administration.
At issue were remarks by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to a gathering of senior military officials in Tehran earlier this week in which he said Israeli officials "cannot be even called humans," and referred to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as "the rabid dog of the region."
"Well, obviously we disagree with it profoundly," Secretary of State John Kerry said in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday.
"It's inflammatory and it's unnecessary, and I think at this moment, when we are trying to negotiate and figure out what can and can't be achieved, the last thing we need are names back and forth," Kerry said.
By Paul Steinhauser
A majority of Americans support an interim deal with Iran that would ease some economic sanctions on that country in exchange for concessions on Iran's nuclear program, according to a new national poll.
A CNN/ORC International survey released Thursday indicates that 56% of the public would favor an international agreement that would impose major restrictions on Iran's nuclear program but not end it completely, with 39% opposed to such an agreement.
"Predictably, there is a partisan divide on that issue, with two-thirds of Democrats favoring a deal along those lines but only 45% of Republicans agreeing with that view," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said.FULL STORY
By Nick Thompson
Iran and world powers are resuming talks in Geneva amid high hopes that a diplomatic solution to Iran's nuclear program will finally be reached.
But while the P5+1 - the U.S., UK, France, Russia, China and Germany - and Iran appear to be closer than ever to striking a deal, there are still a lot of details to iron out.
Read our explainer to get up to speed on 60 years' worth of nuclear history in Iran.FULL STORY
By Tom Cohen and Holly Yan
A breakthrough deal on Iran's nuclear program could be on the horizon - even though Western allies are splintered on the terms.
World leaders will meet Wednesday in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss a proposed deal that would loosen economic sanctions against Tehran in exchange for a suspension of part of its nuclear program.
The Geneva talks involve Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council - the United States, Russia, China, Great Britain and France - as well as Germany in what is known as the P5+1 in diplomatic shorthand.
U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice said the plan would benefit the global community.
By Dan Merica
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey said Monday that if Israel were to strike Iran in an effort to damage the country's nuclear program, the United States would meet "some defined obligations" it has to the Middle East nation.
"I feel like we have a deep obligation to Israel," the military leader said. "That is why we are in constant contact and collaboration with them."
This fall, diplomats from the United States and other interested countries have met to deal with Iran's nuclear program and ways in which advancements could be halted.
By Jamie Crawford
Additional sanctions targeting Iran's disputed nuclear program could undermine international progress already made on the issue, President Barack Obama said Thursday.
"If we're serious about pursuing diplomacy then there's no need for us to add new sanctions on top of the sanctions that are already very effective, and that brought them to the table in the first place," Obama told reporters at the White House.
Obama said he would like to see if a "short-term, phase-one deal" with Iran can be put in place in the near term that requires Tehran to freeze aspects of its nuclear program while the international community negotiates a more comprehensive long-term deal.
By Ted Barrett and Greg Botelho
Secretary of State John Kerry took his case on Wednesday to Capitol Hill, urging Congress not to impose new sanctions on Iran as talks with that country on its nuclear program heat up.
"Our hope is that no new sanctions would be put in place for the simple reason that, if they are, it could be viewed as bad faith by the people we are negotiating with," Kerry said before entering a closed-door briefing with members of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.
"It could destroy the ability to be able to get agreement," he added, "and it could actually wind up setting us back in dialogue that's taken 30 years to achieve."
There's likely to be push-back to the diplomat's move, as several in Congress who still don't trust Iran's leaders have said they want fresh sanctions to keep up the pressure.FULL STORY
By Ted Barrett and Elise Labott
Secretary of State John Kerry will head to Capitol Hill this week to testify on negotiations to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions as some members of Congress push harder for new sanctions with the latest round of talks failing to produce an agreement.
Kerry will meet with members of the Senate Banking Committee, a committee aide said. The session on Wednesday will be closed, a senior State Department official said.
Western sanctions have hit Iran's economy, slashing crude oil exports and triggering inflation. Some of the restrictions originated in the Banking Committee.
Senators from both parties have pushed for tougher sanctions to increase pressure on Iran even as the Geneva talks showed promise at last week. They broke up on Sunday with no deal, but negotiators plan to resume talks later this month.
"We were very, very close, actually, extremely close. I think we were separated by four or five different formulations of a particular concept. But none so terribly that I don't think it's possible to reach be able to reach agreement," Kerry told the BBC in an interview, according to a State Department transcript on Monday.