U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry makes a statement to the press before a meeting with the leader of the Western and Saudi-backed Syrian National Coalition, Jeddah June 27, 2014. (AFP PHOTO/Brendan Smialowski)
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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned Iran it still had to prove its nuclear ambitions were peaceful as the latest round of atomic talks with world powers was due to start in Vienna and a July 20 deadline for an agreement loomed.In Tehran, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani kept up his bullish public stance on the negotiations, saying in a speech that Western sanctions imposed to curb Iran's nuclear program were already crumbling.The presence of Burns, who led secret negotiations between Iran and the United States that helped yield a November interim nuclear agreement, would open up the possibility of bilateral talks between the two long-time antagonists.Burns has met the Iranians twice in the last month, first in Geneva for bilateral talks, in an apparent effort to break a logjam between Tehran and major powers on the nuclear issue, and then in Vienna, where the wider nuclear talks take place.The United States along with Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany, a group collectively known as the P5+1, and Iran reached an interim pact on November 24 under which Iran won some relief from economic sanctions in return for reining in some of its nuclear activities.
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