'Energizer bunny' Kerry wins new diplomatic coup

'Energizer bunny' Kerry wins new diplomatic coup

WASHINGTON - John Kerry has done it again. Against the odds and confounding all expectations, the top US diplomat has pulled off a second major arms deal with a recalcitrant state in a matter of months.

After marathon Geneva talks, Kerry emerged with an interim deal with Iran to roll back its nuclear programme which for years has eluded the global community.

It comes just weeks after a September accord brokered with Russia to eliminate Syria's declared chemical arms - even though Damascus had refused previously to openly acknowledge that it even possessed such a toxic arsenal.

It's a huge coup for the former long-time senator who took over as secretary of state from Hillary Clinton in February, and who, in a nod to his reputation for being slightly dull, joked then that he had "big heels to fill."

But as he prepares to mark his 70th birthday next month, Kerry can be forgiven for some satisfaction at his first nine months in office, and a record which has won him grudging respect from the White House.

"Agreement in Geneva: first step makes world safer. More work now. -JK #IranTalks," Kerry wrote on the State Department Twitter account.

In the months since he took charge of some 70,000 diplomats and the bureau known by its Washington location as Foggy Bottom, Kerry has waded unflinchingly into the world's most intractable problems.

Even his quixotic quest to try to resolve the 60-year-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict, bore fruit when he doggedly pushed the two sides back to the table after a three-year hiatus, though a deal remains a long way off.

Clinton, who always had an eye on her image and a potential 2016 White House bid, steered clear of getting bogged down in the messy diplomacy required in the Middle East.

But if Clinton was the right woman at the start of President Barack Obama's tenure to restore America's tattered reputation overseas, perhaps Kerry is the man for a second-term Obama aiming to carve out a legacy on foreign policy.

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