Power defends Iran nuclear talks

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power on Monday said talks with Iran on its nuclear program would take time.

In response to criticism from Israel, Power defended a potential deal that would lift some sanctions on Iran in exchange for limits on its nuclear program.

She described such a deal as a first step and said it was unrealistic to think deeper concessions could be won immediately from Iran.

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“This is a regime we do not trust any more than the Israelis trust this regime,” Power said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “So to imagine, down the line, to go from zero to 60 without some kind of first step, I think, is unrealistic.

"This would allow us to gauge whether or not what they say is what they mean, and whether they are prepared to follow through," she said of the initial deal.

Power was reacting to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has called the proposed plan a “bad deal.”

Netanyahu said he hoped French President François Hollande could strengthen the resolve of other countries leading the negotiations during the French president’s visit to the country over the weekend. 

“This visit is important ... in light of the talks that are being held in Geneva on the Iranian nuclear issue,” Netanyahu said. “I hope that we will succeed in convincing our friends this week, and the days after, to reach a much better deal.”

Power said the United States is working in “lockstep” with Israel and France. And she said the sanctions imposed on the country are what brought Iran to the negotiating table. 

Power said the proposed deal would leave some of the harshest sanctions in place. And the U.N. could always reimpose the sanctions if Iran did not follow through.  

“And then we always have the option of slapping more sanctions on, as I think the president said a couple days ago, we would lead the charge in that effort,” she said.