Iran will hold two days of nuclear talks with the United States starting Monday, and then conduct two further days of negotiations with Russia, the foreign ministry in Tehran announced Saturday.
The US State Department confirmed the upcoming meeting in Geneva with senior US officials.
According to deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf, the American team will be comprised of Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns, Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman and senior White House official Jake Sullivan. The meeting between the two sides will take place on June 9 and 10.
Iran’s official IRNA news agency, quoting the ministry, said similar talks with Russia would follow on Wednesday and Thursday in Rome.
#IranTalks Update: DepSecState Bill Burns, U/S Wendy Sherman, & snr WH official Jake Sullivan to meet w/Iranian officials this wk in Geneva.
— Marie Harf (@marieharf) June 7, 2014
As the deadline for the six-month interim nuclear agreement approaches on July 20, both sides are stepping up efforts to work out the details of a final deal.
“We believe we need to engage in as much active diplomacy as we can to test whether we can reach a diplomatic solution with Iran on its nuclear program,” a senior US administration official was quoted by Al Monitor as saying Saturday. “These consultations come at an important juncture of the negotiations.”
Last week, it emerged that a key sticking point in the negotiations was Tehran’s demand that the P5+1 allow it to continue enriching uranium for its Bushehr nuclear power plant as part of a negotiated solution.
In response, a diplomat from one of the P5+1 countries was quoted by Reuters as saying the possibility that world powers would agree to let Iran produce nuclear fuel was “unrealistic.”
Discussions between representatives of the P5+1 and Tehran are set to resume in Vienna June 16.
Under the interim deal in November, Iran agreed to cap its nuclear activities in return for an easing of sanctions by the West. The US and its allies suspect Tehran is seeking atomic weapons, but Iran denies the charge saying its aims are peaceful.
The deal reached by Iran and six world powers — the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany — put limits on Iran’s uranium enrichment program in return for the easing of some sanctions. Core sanctions, however, remain in place — including measures targeting Iran’s oil exports, the pillar of its economy.
AP contributed to this report.