U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Jawad Zarif (C) gesture as they arrive to resume nuclear negotiations in Montreux, in this March 2, 2015 file photo. REUTERS/Evan Vucci/Pool
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Iran and the U.S. aim in talks starting Sunday in Switzerland to begin closing in on a milestone deal reducing Tehran's nuclear activities to within strict limits after 18 months of tortuous negotiations.The U.S. and Iran have not had diplomatic relations for 35 years and the standoff over Tehran's nuclear program has dogged its international relations for more than a decade.To the alarm of Israel and U.S. Republicans, the U.S. has abandoned insisting that Iran dismantles all nuclear activities, tolerating instead a small programme under tight controls.In theory, this still leaves Iran with the possibility to get the bomb, critics say, and last week 47 Republicans took the unprecedented step of writing an open letter to Iran's leaders. Two deadlines, in July and November, passed without an agreement but in view of the controversy in Washington -- and pressure in Iran on Rouhani to deliver -- extending yet again will be very tough.
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