Netanyahu Calls Kerry-Iran Meeting on Nuclear Program A 'Historic Mistake'

Secretary of State John Kerry's meeting with Iranian officials irks Israeli prime minister.
15:17 | 11/08/13

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Transcript for Netanyahu Calls Kerry-Iran Meeting on Nuclear Program A 'Historic Mistake'
This is a special room. We'll run down -- for a New York with -- CBC news digital special report a potential breakthrough in nuclear talks with Iran. Secretary of state John Kerry he -- Making an unscheduled trip to Geneva Switzerland to join negotiations. The deal. Would cap some of Iran's nuclear activities all in exchange for limited relief from economic sanctions that's a move that Israel opposes. Kerry said there is no deal yet as he walked in for meetings with diplomats from the other permanent members the united nations Security Council known as the let's listen to what he had to say. 55 is doing. Very important -- And I'm delighted to be here at the invitation Cathy -- To try to work with our colleagues -- -- -- we -- narrowed some differences. I want to emphasize -- are still some very important. Issues on the table that are under assault. It is important -- those big problems. I want to emphasize there's not an agreement. If -- -- working hard. And I look forward his meetings we have a very shortly. -- -- Baghdad. Which by fellow ministers -- -- five and then also. The meeting. These. We hope try to narrow differences that I don't think anybody. The state. That there are some important. Gaps. So for more on the possible deal want to bring any BC's Chris good in Washington DC and ABC's Mohammed Lila. Just back from inside Iran he's now in Islamabad Pakistan. Guys thanks -- with a sick -- to start with you no specific deal at this time what the gaps that secretary Kerry just mentioned there. Well the gas on the US side are verification. He's looking for a deal with Iran he wants to get them to stop in some capacity enriching uranium. And limit their nuclear program but does the trick is. How do we know so an issue is what can the I AEA inspectors international atomic energy inspectors look at -- -- -- that's really what I think the US is looking for is some sort of trust Sobel reliable way to know that -- -- and do what it says -- in -- The US has been very unspecific about what they're gonna look for in terms of those limits on on the Iranian nuclear -- and so we're just sort of at this point waiting to see. You know what type of specific controls what -- the specific limits they're gonna set. On on what Iran can and can't -- So -- what are bringing to us from because premier running as viewpoint the regime seems to have progressed far in the very short time. In office what -- this administration done differently. -- quite simply it hasn't been combative with the rest of the international community you know -- -- -- Iran's vice president a couple of days ago and she said what they're looking for. Is a rational. Balanced relationship with the rest of the world now when they -- balanced relationship what they mean is that. They are willing to deal with the international community in a way that satisfies the community's needs and Iran's -- in the past. Especially under the former president Ahmadinejad it was always we have our standpoint and the rest of the world has to come to us what we're seeing now is for the first time. The Iranian administration has made a conscious decision to say you know what the world is not going to come to us we need to meet them halfway and some of that is what we're seeing right now in Geneva. -- Chris I want to talk about them that details of this possible deal out of rockets still enrich uranium not though at high levels and sanctions within -- lifted correct. Well it's it's really unclear at this point that's a very sensitive issue politically here. You know people who really don't want Iran to have any chance that a nuclear. On the people who are most worried about this meaning that the people who sort of follow the lead of Israel. And what Israel says and voicing concerns you know they they don't want any -- -- and also the administration has been noncommittal. We're waiting to see what this deal looks like unity here people at the State Department used the word. Halts nuclear enrichment. Halt their nuclear program. But it's not entirely clear at this point whether -- be a total halt. Or whether they were just be some some limits on enrichment but not pass a certain point. So that the language that they use in the specifics -- that have been provided publicly. Have been a little bit vague at this point so that's I think why everybody's kind of waiting to see what happens with this deal it's apparently according to -- parents to send getting drafted today so we really just don't know yet. So Mohamed. The fact that matters is that past administrations in Iran have said that in fact that you want to pursue this only for civilian purposes. What has been this administration's response about the pursuit of nuclear weapons -- -- this administration has said -- from the very beginning that they -- According to them they are not interest -- in nuclear weapons. It would the evidence -- site for that is a fact -- -- -- religious ruling from the Iran's supreme leader. Who of course has the final say on all state events in Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. They point to a -- what if he issued saying that nuclear weapons are against the religion of Islam. And they actually offered at one point to submit that documents in the United Nations as proof as some sort of binding agreement that Iran would not pursue nuclear weapons. Now of course I'd given up current climate and given the animosity between Israel and Iran and animosity we saw very clearly. During this most recent trip to Iran obviously you know a simple -- by a religious rulers are going to be enough to satisfy Israel's desire to see you run free of all nuclear weapons all nuclear power. Across the board. But I should point out you know in speaking with ordinary Iranians this is more than just issue of nuclear energy three radiance is it's an issue of national pride. They feel as though that -- -- a country have progressed to the level where they can start. Building their own nuclear reactors and -- doubt furnishing their own country with their own supply. The nuclear energy for them that's an accomplishment it's a scientific accomplishment. That they refuse to back down on for them you know fort -- ukrainians even those who support better ties with the United States. Even for ordinary Iranians this is a national interest issue it's it's a matter of national pride and it is not something they're willing to back down on. And obviously is raising attention of world leaders including President Obama who last night spoke to NBC. About Iran I wanna play a bit -- -- Our job is not to trust -- alliance our job is to. Put in place. Mechanisms where we can verify. What they're doing and not doing -- -- nuclear -- And the negotiators and third parts were not about easing sanctions -- -- Bush's -- employers are about. How -- -- begins to meet its international obligations -- can provide them some. Very modest. Relief. But keeping the sanctions. Architecture employs keeping the course sanctions in place so that if it turned out during the course of the six months more work trying to resolve -- bigger issues. That they're backing out of -- deal they're not following through on an order not -- go forward and finish the job. Giving us assurances that they are not -- -- weapon we can -- for about baca. So Chris let. Ask you about that then how is that rhetoric different from previous administrations. Well it's it's different in and that there are talks happening in that that it seems that there's progress being made I think what you hear. From President Obama is is a real. Caution against. Against potential backlash here in the US unity you hear the administration talk about. Nobody's talking about easing sanctions nobody's -- about lifting sanctions you know we we just want to put a process in place of that -- -- can meet. Obligations I mean really what they're talking about is is easing sanctions they're talking about a framework for. If Iran does this -- on -- let us verify that it's not progressing its nuclear program we're gonna roll back some sanctions so. You know you hear -- -- a lot of caution and President Obama speaking about that. Consider it let me ask Mohammed about this on because obviously. Talking about those sanctions one of the advantages in fact they were lifted would be more exports of Iran's oil. How much is that an incentive for those. You know let me just take a step backwards here I at this point you know where we are on the negotiations. This is a preliminary framework this is basically a chance for you know the international community and Iran to say -- or the steps that each of us is going to take in order to build confidence and build trust. So that one day the sanctions will be lifted. In speaking -- -- officials none of the men said that they want to sanctions lifted right away they -- acutely aware. There's there's a massive gulf between the United States and Iran when it comes to trust for 34 years America has not trusted you Ron's intentions and Iran has not -- -- the intentions of the Americans. So it's not a case of you -- just snapping your fingers and suddenly everyone's going to be happy -- Iranians have put together what they say is is a blueprint. A series of baby steps if you will for each side to begin to trust the other. What I asked what the first baby step in that process was he never said lifting of sanctions. I see Iranian official told me that what they want is an easing of sanctions. And that easing specifically should be to allow Iran to trade more freely without regional neighbors. And that easing of sanctions for example on medical equipment and medicine that is in short supply in some parts. On the -- -- the idea is that he rings are not looking for a full list. They're just looking for you know a little bit of breathing room and in response. To here's what they're -- table today and again this isn't confirmed but it appears -- -- offered to hold their Iranians. Enrichment. For a period of five or six months again and that would be a confidence building step towards a broader deal that would happen. -- possibly next year. Well behind it's -- -- confidence vote in the fact that matters that you pointed out there for 34 years there's been met very tenuous relationship between two countries tenuous probably. Much more liberal the word to use it to describe that but. Do you find any shred of optimism even in the fact that these negotiations that these talks are even taking place among Iranian people. Absolutely listen this is appointed to Iranians need to -- both the government and local Iranians that you would meet they would say listen. You -- the Iranian people have no animosity towards the American people in fact they actually like Americans -- -- you tell them. You're from an American network and start asking questions they ask you if you've ever met Adele -- askew if you eat McDonald's that mean you name it. So there's no animosity there all of this is on a government to government level and what we've seen this government's and I hate Jesus work is there you know -- Outwardly anyway there -- they seem to be moderate. The -- seeing a radical departure from previous governments. When we met with the vice presidents and I should give a plug it's gonna go out on Yahoo!'s used -- series but when we met with Iranian President she says something. A few years ago -- been unheard. She said. You -- and the United States can work together on a number of issues including regional security economic issues humanitarian issues she even -- wildlife conservation. I mean if you think of the animosity that's been built up over so many years to this zany -- -- protests in the streets and seek death to America. For a senior government official of that stature to come out and make that statement. Is a total shift in policy. And -- And this government knows what they're trying to do was really -- shift in policy they know they're -- face hardliners within their own government gonna try to stop them but the government does has had the endorsement of this -- supreme leader which is effectively a green light for them to go ahead and pursue these negotiations. Mohammed tremendous credit needs to be given to you because of -- reporting inside of Iran there because -- think you're right in the fact that a lot of the face of the running people has been -- for such a long period of time that the excess of reporting that you've been doing their I think it's really changed. A lot of people's perceptions or ideas for what's happening within that country. One person -- clearly not pleased with these talks is Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and I wanna play his remarks from earlier today. Understand the Iranians are walking or longer satisfied in -- As well -- should be because they got everything and paid nothing everything they wanted. They wanted relief from sanctions after years of grueling -- -- they got that they're paying nothing because they're not reducing and anyway their nuclear. Enrichment capabilities. So -- Got the deal of the centrist. And the international community job. A bad deal this is of very bad deal. Chris with response like that how does the US or the other. Well. Israel has very publicly opposed this warming of relations in this advancement towards talks of this the statement from. Prime minister Netanyahu is. Is really nothing new I don't think it really changes the game for what what John Kerry and -- with a restive. -- today in a sense that and it almost helps a little bit to have that that voice out there are opposing this. But you know I I think that they can move forward you know. What you heard from Netanyahu is that. Iran has gotten everything in given away nothing they haven't gotten everything that's -- mention it's not a lifting of all sanctions it's not. And an hour. Every share of the sanctions regime that the United States has put in place it's a limited move that the US says that they can roll back at any time so insofar as there will be any. Framework for progress towards lifting sanctions today. The US can undo those if Iran doesn't need whatever promises -- to meet in terms of verification terms of not -- Uranium. Chris -- -- -- -- -- the US and Israel losing voting rights in -- -- today the UN's education and cultural arm what was the reason behind that there is. Behind that was in the US some paying its dues -- out of out of protest for. You know ESCO recognizing Palestine. So you know US that's paying its dues. Out of protest for that -- I believe that sort of an internal policy that that they have to do that to to protest. The recognition of Palestine. As -- state and then. That I get to vote anywhere they saw a member of the UNESCO but Dave it was about -- All right ABC's Chris good with the explanation and Washington ABC's -- -- Pakistan Mohammed again thank you for that and extensive reporting. Of course you can get a complete recap right here on For non Dan -- for -- New York with this ABC news digital special report.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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