January 21, 2015 / 7:49 PM / 3 years ago

U.S., Iran to hold nuclear talks in Switzerland on Friday, Saturday

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. and Iranian negotiators will hold talks about Iran’s nuclear program in Switzerland on Friday and Saturday, the U.S. State Department said.

Head of the U.S. delegation, Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman (R), and an unidentified person leave a hotel in Vienna February 17, 2014. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

Negotiators from Iran and six major powers failed to meet a self-imposed deadline in November to clinch an agreement that is seen as crucial to reducing the risk of a wider Middle East war. A deal would curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.

U.S. Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman is scheduled to travel to Berlin on Wednesday for talks with political directors of the Group of Seven nations, which includes Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, the State Department said. Germany hosts the G7 summit this year.

“Under Secretary of State Sherman will then travel to Zurich, Switzerland, where she will be joined by the rest of the U.S. negotiating team to meet with Iranian officials January 23 to 24,” the State Department said in its statement.

Under a Nov. 24, 2013 accord with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States, Iran halted its most sensitive nuclear activity and took other steps in exchange for some easing of economic sanctions.

That provisional agreement bought time for talks on the final settlement of the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program that is more than a decade old. Tehran has contended that the program was designed for domestic applications but the West has expressed concern that it may be aimed at developing the capability to produce nuclear weapons.

Reporting By Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Toni Reinhold

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