Senior U.S., Iran, EU officials to meet on Monday-Tuesday in Geneva

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 08, 2014 5:38 AM

By Parisa Hafezi and Michelle Moghtader

ANKARA/DUBAI (Reuters) - Iranian, U.S. and European Union officials will start two days of talks about Tehran's nuclear program on Monday, Iran said, giving its first word about what appears to be a bid to rescue faltering wider negotiations on ending a decade-old dispute.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told state-run Iranian television in remarks broadcast on Sunday that the meeting in Geneva would also discuss sanctions that have damaged the OPEC member's oil-dependent economy.

"The meeting tomorrow with the Americans will be trilateral and Helga Schmidt, the deputy of EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, will be present as well," Araqchi said.

The most recent round of nuclear talks between Iran and six major powers in Vienna last month ran into difficulties, with each side accusing the other of having unrealistic demands in negotiations aimed at curbing Tehran's atomic program in exchange for an end to economic sanctions.

The United States said on Saturday it would send its No. 2 diplomat, Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns, to Geneva to meet senior Iranian officials on Monday and Tuesday.

    Burns, who led secret U.S.-Iranian negotiations that helped bring about a Nov. 24 interim nuclear agreement between Iran and the major powers, would head a U.S. delegation, it said.

(Additional reporting by Mehrdad Balali, Writing by William Maclean, editing by Jon Boyle)