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Iran, U.S. officials hold fresh nuclear talks in Geneva

File - A photo taken on May 21, 2014 in Shanghai, shows Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) shaking hands with his Iran's counterpart Hassan Rouhani during their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the fourth Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) summit. AFP PHOTO / RIA-NOVOSTI / ALEXEY DRUZHININ

GENEVA: Iranian and U.S. officials met in Geneva Thursday for the first time since the Islamic Republic and six world powers agreed to extend talks to resolve a decadelong dispute over Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

The officials had a “constructive discussion,” the U.S. State Department said without providing details.

“It was, I would say, a constructive discussion,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters in Washington.

When they last met on July 19, Iran, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China agreed to extend the deadline to reach a comprehensive agreement under which Iran would curb its nuclear activities in exchange for the easing of economic sanctions to Nov. 24 from July 20.

Announcing the talks in Washington Wednesday, the State Department said Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns would lead the U.S. delegation, which also includes Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman and Jake Sullivan, national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden.

Burns and Sullivan are expected to leave the Obama administration this year.

Iran’s state news agency IRNA said Thursday that the talks had started, with deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi leading the Iranian delegation.

Among the disputed issues are the permissible scope of Iran’s nuclear fuel production capacity and how to address the country’s suspected past atomic bomb research.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on August 08, 2014, on page 10.

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