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Kerry plays down talk of imminent Iran nuclear deal

US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks on US policy on November 18, 2013 in Washington, DC
US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks on US policy on November 18, 2013 in Washington, DC

US Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday sought to play down hopes that a deal on Iran's nuclear program could be reached before the end of the week.

"I have no specific expectations with respect to the negotiations in Geneva except that we will negotiate in good faith," Kerry said, after meeting with his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu.

"We will try to get a first step agreement and hope that Iran will understand the importance of coming there prepared to create a document that can prove to the world that this is a peaceful program."

The P5+1 group -- the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany -- begin a new round of talks in Geneva on Wednesday, after failing to clinch a deal earlier this month.

Kerry, who will be represented by his deputy Wendy Sherman, said he had to be in Washington on Thursday for a congressional hearing.

But he did not rule out arranging a last minute flight to Geneva if a deal appeared in the offing, as he did earlier in the month.

"We'll see what develops, as to whether or not we can get close, and get this done," Kerry added.

Israel and the West suspect Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons capability alongside its uranium enrichment program, which Tehran insists is for entirely peaceful purposes.

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