As efforts continue to strike a deal over Iran’s nuclear program, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will once again meet next week with his Iranian counterpart, AFP reported Thursday.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that Kerry would address a high level meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
While in the Swiss city, he "will also meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss Ukraine and regional issues of common interest," Psaki said in a statement.
He will then travel to Montreux to meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for another round of talks as a March 31 deadline to hammer down a complex deal to rein in Iran's nuclear program looms.
Iran and six world powers reached an interim deal in November of 2013, under which Iran committed to limit its uranium enrichment to five percent and is gradually winning access to $4.2 billion of its oil revenues frozen abroad and some other sanctions relief.
The talks were supposed to continue in order to turn the interim deal into a permanent one. However, the talks have stalled and two deadlines for a final deal have been missed, with a third one looming on July 1 and the technical details needing to be worked out by March 31.
The pace of talks have stepped up as the clock ticks down to the deadline, and Kerry only returned on Monday from meetings with the Iranian minister in the Swiss city.
After the two met on Monday, a United States official said that some progress was made but added much work still needed to be done.
As talks with Iran intensify, tensions have been raised between Israel and the United States, as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu continues to warn that the deal being worked out with Iran is a dangerous one.
On Tuesday, Kerry took a jab at Netanyahu, not mentioning the Israeli prime minister by name but saying that those voicing their opposition to deal being negotiated with Iran over its nuclear program are "uninformed."
On Wednesday, he was far more direct, questioning Netanyahu’s judgment on Iran and saying that he "was extremely outspoken about how bad the interim agreement was, calling it the ‘deal of the century for Iran,’” but turned out to be wrong.