President Obama to Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif:
"I'm embarrassed the negotiations has taken this long and I haven't had a chance to feed the dogs."
(cartoon by Farsheed Rajabali, Iranian daily Ghanoon)
The White House wants Congress to stop interfering in the negotiations with Iran about its nuclear capabilities.
White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough warned Congress in a letter sent late Saturday that pending legislation requiring congressional approval for any deal reached with Iran about its nuclear capabilities could have a "profoundly negative impact" on the negotiations.
White House officials have said President Barack Obama would veto the proposed legislation.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry travels to Switzerland Sunday for another round of talks with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Jawad Zarif, in an attempt to reach an interim deal with Iran on its nuclear power program by a March 31 deadline.
Kerry, speaking Saturday at an international investor conference in Egypt, said "some progress" has been made in the talks, but "there are still gaps, important gaps, and important choices that need to be made by Iran in order to be able to move forward."
Kerry said one obstacle in the negotiations could be the open letter that 47 Republican U.S. senators sent to Iranian leaders warning that the next U.S. president could revoke a deal at any time. He called the letter a "direct interference" that could possibly jeopardize reaching an accord with Iran.
When asked if he would apologize for the letter when he meets with Zarif in Lausanne, Kerry said "I'm not going to apologize for an unconstitutional, un-thought out action by somebody who's been in the United States Senate for 60-something days." He said, "That's just inappropriate."
The United States and five other major powers are attending the negotiations with Iran in Lausanne.
Kerry said last week Congress does not have the right to modify an agreement reached between leaders of countries.
The United States and its partners in the P5+1 group -- Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany -- have an end-of-March deadline to reach a framework deal for Iran to cut back on its uranium enrichment program in exchange for lifting sanctions that have destroyed its economy.
Republican opponents of the deal say Iran cannot be trusted.
Iran insists it has no plans to build nuclear weapons and that its nuclear program is strictly for civilian purposes
... Payvand News - 03/15/15 ... --