U.S., Iran hold bilateral nuclear meetings in Geneva

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GENEVA. KAZINFORM - High-level representatives from the United States and Iran have started a three-day bilateral meetings on Thursday to discuss Iran's disputed nuclear program.

The meeting is a prelude to the talks on Jan. 18, which will be attended by several world major countries and Iran. The U.S. Mission in Geneva confirmed the U.S. negotiating team was led by acting Deputy Secretary of State Wendy R. Sherman, former Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, and senior advisers Jake Sullivan and Rob Malley. The Iran delegation was led by Iran deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi and Majid Takht Ravanchi. Experts from both sides also joined the meetings. The bilateral meetings came after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met several times with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif on Wednesday. The U.S. Department of State later said Kerry and Zarif had substantive meetings and discussed a broad range of issues. The P5+1 group, namely China, France, Russia, Britain, the United States, and Germany, will meet Iran with a view to making further progress towards a long-term comprehensive solution on the nuclear issue, Xinhua reported. The meeting will be at a political directors level and chaired by European Union political director Helga Schmid. The new round of talks is the second meeting between the P5+1 group and Iran after the failure to meet a Nov. 24 deadline last year for a comprehensive nuclear deal. The last meeting was on Dec. 17 in Geneva. Iran has been a target of UN sanctions due to its alleged attempts to build nuclear weapons. The West accuses Iran of developing nuclear weapons under the cover of civilian nuclear programs, which Iran has denied, insisting that its nuclear programs are for peaceful purposes only.

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