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Zarif, Kerry to hold nuclear talks in Geneva

Iran and world powers are trying to strike a deal that would prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear bomb

Published: Updated:

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and top U.S. diplomat John Kerry will meet in Geneva this week for talks on Tehran’s nuclear program, an Iranian official said Thursday.

Iran and world powers are trying to strike a deal that would prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear bomb, a goal it denies having, in return for an easing of punishing economic sanctions.

Zarif and Kerry will hold two days of discussions from Sunday after their diplomats begin bilateral talks on Friday, Iran’s deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi said.

“After four days of bilateral discussions between the Iranian and U.S. nuclear delegations, they could continue with the participation of all members of the P5+1,” Araghchi was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.

He was referring to Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States, which are seeking to thrash out a complex deal with Iran.

Washington said this week that the European Union’s deputy foreign policy chief Helga Schmid would also join the U.S.-Iranian talks.

Two deadlines for a permanent agreement have been missed since a November 2013 interim deal.

Negotiators are now working toward reaching a political framework by March 31, with the final technical details to be laid out in a comprehensive accord by June 30.

Zarif has met multiple times with Kerry, most recently in Munich earlier this month on the sidelines of a global security conference.

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful energy purposes.