Kerry videotaped a message to members of Congress warning against any new sanctions during the six-month period of talks foreseen by a deal struck last weekend in Geneva. (Agencies)
"We are immediately going to work on the final agreement, the comprehensive agreement, and our diplomats and our experts will be at the negotiating table very soon again working to achieve this final comprehensive agreement that addresses all of our concerns and our friends: Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Arab Emirates, others," Kerry said.
"We are going to get this done, I hope, but we're not cocky about it. We're not overconfident. It's going to take a lot of work, and in the end, it's really up to Iran to make the choice, to prove that its program is indeed peaceful. They can say it, but saying it doesn't make it happen. It has to be proven. In the end, they have to be the ones to make the choice to do that," Kerry said.
This agreement is the first in almost a decade to put any kind of meaningful limits on Iran's nuclear program, Kerry said.
"We're not just slowing down its progress; we're actually halting it and even rolling it back in some key areas. That's very important. It means that even as we continue to move forward with negotiations, Iran's nuclear program will not move forward, and in some respects it's going to be moving backwards," Kerry said.
Meanwhile both the State Department and the White House cautioned the Congress against imposing any new set of sanctions, arguing that such a move would be counterproductive.
"It could divide the P5-plus-one, because other countries would think that the United States is not living up to our end of the bargain, in terms of giving the negotiations a chance. It could have the opposite impact of what is intended by driving the Iranians to take a harder line in these negotiations and response," State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said.
"The Iranians could also seek to exploit divisions in the international community to unravel the international sanctions regime. Because we negotiated with the P5-plus-one, this isn't just about one country's impact. It's about all of the countries' impact. It isn't the US trade embargo alone. It's also our ability to get other countries to reduce their purchases of Iranian oil, to cut Iran off from the international financial system," Psaki said.
The White House echoed the message, warning that any "additional sanctions before this diplomatic window could be pursued would undermine our credibility about the goal of these sanctions."
Deputy White House spokesperson Josh Earnest said, "We're not sanctioning just for the sake of sanctions and we're not sanctioning the Iranians specifically to punish them. We have these sanctions in place to pressure Iran to consider and pursue a diplomatic option."
The moves came after Iran and major powers reached an accord in Geneva on Sunday on the Islamic state's nuclear ambitions.
Under the deal, Iran has agreed to freeze certain aspects of its nuclear program in exchange for an estimated USD 7 billion of relief from crippling sanctions.
Kerry videotaped a message to members of Congress warning against any new sanctions during the six-month period of talks foreseen by a deal struck last weekend in Geneva.