June 24, 2015 / 9:01 PM / in 2 years

Kerry heads to Vienna on Friday for Iran nuclear talks: U.S.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will fly to Vienna on Friday to take part in Iran nuclear talks ahead of a self-imposed June 30 deadline, U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry holds a pair of crutches as he arrives with Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi at the Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) at the State Department in Washington June 23, 2015. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

The talks between Iran and six major powers aim to reach an agreement under which Tehran would restrain its nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions that have crippled its economy.

The nations involved in the talks with Iran, which include Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States, have set June 30 as a deadline for a deal but the negotiations are widely expected to slide past that date.

Two major sticking points are the sequencing of sanctions relief with steps taken by Iran to curb its nuclear program and the definition of monitoring and verification measures to ensure that Tehran is not cheating on any agreement.

The United States and some of its partners suspect Iran of using its civil nuclear program as a cover to develop a nuclear weapons capability. Iran denies this, saying that its program is solely for peaceful purposes such as making medical isotopes.

Reporting by Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Eric Walsh

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