ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that the major powers were unified on an Iran nuclear deal during weekend talks in Geneva but the Iranians were unable to accept it. He also said critics of the diplomatic effort should withhold their comments until a deal is reached.
Speaking to reporters in Abu Dhabi, Kerry said the United States and its negotiating partners were unified when the proposal was presented to the Iranians.
"The French signed off on it, we signed off on it," Kerry said.
Earlier reports said that the talks came apart because France refused to accept the deal with Iran. On Monday, Kerry said the major powers reached an agreement after a marathon bargaining session but Iran wasn't able to accept the deal "at that particular moment."
"There was unity but Iran couldn't take it," he said.
Kerry also said that that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's rejection of a deal to limit Iran's nuclear ambitions was premature.
"The time to oppose it is when you see what it is, not to oppose the effort to find out what is possible," Kerry said.
Netanyahu has repeatedly criticized what he considers readiness by the six powers involved in the talks to be too generous to Iran and has aggressively campaigned against an agreement.
But Kerry reasserted the U.S. commitment to Israel, saying the United States would not allow Iran to develop a nuclear bomb.
President Barack Obama, Kerry said, "does what he says," citing the killing of Osama bin Laden and getting American troops out of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"So believe us on Iran," he said. "He will not bluff."
Kerry said the U.S. has "been meeting constantly" with the Israelis to understand the progress Iran has made in its nuclear program. "We are confident that what we are doing can actually protect Israel more effectively and provide greater security," he said.
Kerry said there is no "end game" in motion and the Geneva talks were a first step in longer process of possible give and take.