Kerry says will know soon if US, Iran can reach nuclear deal

US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday he expected to know soon whether Iran is willing to agree to a nuclear deal, and he appeared to take a swipe at Israel`s prime minister over the issue.

Reuters| Last Updated: Feb 24, 2015, 22:51 PM IST

Washington: US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday he expected to know soon whether Iran is willing to agree to a nuclear deal, and he appeared to take a swipe at Israel`s prime minister over the issue.

"We expect to know soon whether or not Iran is willing to put together an acceptable, verifiable plan," Kerry told lawmakers at a congressional hearing on the U.S. State Department budget.

The United States and five powers, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia, are seeking to negotiate an accord with Iran to restrain its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. Washington suspects Iran may be trying to develop nuclear weapons. Iran says its program is for peaceful purposes.

In his opening statement on Tuesday, Kerry also appeared to implicitly criticize Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has blasted the emerging nuclear agreement with Iran as "bad and dangerous" and said he would do what he could to prevent it.

"Anybody running around right now jumping in to say, `Well we don`t like the deal,` or this or that, doesn`t know what the deal is. There is no deal yet," Kerry said. "And I caution people to wait and see what these negotiations produce."

Netanyahu is set to address a joint session of Congress on March 3, a visit that has irked President Barack Obama`s aides because it was arranged by Republican House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner and Israeli ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer without the White House initially being in the loop.