14 January 2015
Last updated at 03:45
Iran says its nuclear programme is for peaceful energy generation only
US Secretary of State John Kerry is due to meet his Iranian counterpart in Geneva in a bid to revive stalled talks over Iran’s nuclear programme.
Mr Kerry says his meeting with Mohammad Javad Zarif is to “take stock” ahead of a new round of talks on Thursday.
Six world powers want Iran to curb its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of sanctions.
An interim deal was struck in November 2013 but two previous deadlines for a comprehensive deal have been missed.
The aim now is to reach a high-level political agreement by 1 March and confirm the full technical details of the agreement by 1 July.
Iran is subject to economic sanctions amid fears that it is trying to develop a nuclear weapon. It insists its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes.
Speaking in India on Monday before he flew to Pakistan and then on to Switzerland, Mr Kerry said he hoped to be able to “accelerate the process to make greater progress”.
The last round of talks ended without agreement in Vienna in November
“We are at a juncture where most of the issues are now getting fleshed out and understood,” he said.
A fresh round of talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) is to begin in Geneva on Thursday.
Major sticking points are said to include the future extent of Iran’s uranium enrichment and how quickly sanctions can be lifted.
The BBC’s Imogen Foulkes in Geneva says that despite previous disagreements the signs ahead of Wednesday’s meeting between Mr Kerry and Mr Zarif seem positive.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has publicly suggested that a reduction in uranium enrichment need not compromise Iran’s principles, she says.
Mr Zarif suggested on Monday that giving Russia a more active role in the talks could be one way to speed things up.