January 11, 2015 / 6:59 PM / 3 years ago

Iran says to explore with U.S. ways to speed up nuclear talks

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran and the United States will explore ways to give impetus to nuclear talks when their chief diplomats meet in Geneva on Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrives at the Iranian embassy for lunch with former European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in Vienna November 18, 2014. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

Zarif and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will confer ahead of a fresh round of negotiations between Iran and six world powers on settling their 12-year stand-off over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

Lower-level negotiators on both sides will meet at the same venue on Thursday to iron out technical details ahead of negotiations on Jan. 18 between Iran and the six powers grouped under “P5+1” - the United States, France, Germany, Russia, China and Britain.

Speaking at a Tehran news conference, Zarif said the purpose of the talks with Kerry “is to see if we can speed up and push the negotiations forward”.

“We will see how useful it will turn out. We are constantly gauging the benefits,” he told reporters, referring to recent dialogue with the United States after decades of hostility dating back to Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution.

Zarif said Iran-U.S. talks “will remain confined to the margins of the nuclear negotiations”.

“Talks with the U.S. take on a peculiar hue because we don’t have diplomatic relations. With the others in P5+1, things follow their routine course.”

Under an interim deal reached by the six powers and Iran in 2013, Tehran halted higher-level uranium enrichment in exchange for a limited easing of the financial and trade sanctions which have damaged its economy, including access to some frozen oil revenues abroad.

Reporting by Mehrdad Balali; Editing by Stephen Powell

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