American negotiators will meet in the coming days in Geneva with their Iranian counterparts for a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program, officials said Wednesday, according to AFP.
Chief negotiator Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and her team will travel to Switzerland on Thursday, the State Department said.
Iran and the so-called P5+1 group — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States — are trying to pin down a complex deal that would put back Iran's ability to develop an atomic bomb in exchange for an easing of crippling international sanctions.
"These bilateral consultations will take place in the context of the P5+1 nuclear negotiations with Iran," the State Department said in a statement, adding the European Union's deputy foreign policy chief Helga Schmid would also join the talks.
Iran and the 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 sides were then supposed to continue talks and turn the interim deal into a permanent. However, the talks have stalled and two deadlines for a final deal have been missed, with a third one looming on July 1.
It was not immediately clear who would meet with Sherman in Geneva, but in the past she has met Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
The Iranian minister has also met multiple times with Secretary of State John Kerry.
Their last face-to-face was in Munich earlier this month, when they met twice on different days on the sidelines of a global security conference.
Both men stressed that they were focused on the March 31 deadline and appeared to rule out any further extensions.
Recent reports indicated that the United States is ceding ground to Iran in talks and will now allow it to “keep much of its uranium-enriching technology,” thus allowing Iran to maintain its self-proclaimed “right to enrich uranium”.
Before the talks were extended until July, Iran was toughening its stance, with chief negotiator Abbas Araqchi saying he sees no prospect for a deal unless the other side abandons its “illogical excessive demands”.
A senior Iranian official followed those comments by declaring that Iran will demand that all Western sanctions be lifted as part of a final deal, rejecting an American proposal of a gradual lifting of sanctions.