Kerry: Iran nuclear talks to resume

Top U.S. diplomat made the remarks after diplomats said Iran had halted talks in Vienna

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday he expected nuclear talks with Iran to resume in the coming days, saying progress had been made and that consultations were now needed.

Kerry was speaking after diplomats said Iran had interrupted technical discussions with six world powers in Vienna over how to implement a deal whereby Tehran would cap its nuclear program in return an easing of sanctions.

"We have been hard at it in Vienna ... we are making progress but I think that they're at a point in those talks where folks feel a need to consult and take a moment," Kerry said during a visit to Israel.

"There is every expectation that the talks are going to continue in the next few days and that we will proceed to the full implementation of that plan," he added.

Iran's decision to halt the talks in Vienna came hours after Washington blacklisted a dozen companies and individuals for evading U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Iranian negotiators announced later that they halted nuclear talks with major powers to return to Tehran for consultations.

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi on Friday slammed the U.S. move, saying it went against the spirit of a landmark deal agreed last month.

"America's move is against the spirit of the Geneva deal," under which world powers agreed not to impose any new sanctions, Araqchi told the Fars news agency.

"We are evaluating the situation and will make the appropriate response," he said, as his negotiating team headed home for consultations after halting talks with the powers in Vienna.

Under the interim deal reached in Geneva, Iran agreed to freeze parts of its nuclear program for six months in return for some $7 billion in relief from Western sanctions as it negotiates a final, comprehensive accord to allay suspicions it is seeking to build atomic weapons.

(With Reuters and AFP)

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