MOSCOW (AFP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani on Monday that there was "a real chance" to find a solution to the decade-old standoff over Teheran's nuclear drive.
The Kremlin said Mr Putin had called Mr Rouhani to discuss the Syrian crisis as well as a new round of talks about the nuclear standoff that is set to begin in Geneva on Wednesday.
"Mr Putin stressed that a real chance has now emerged for finding a solution to this longstanding problem," the Kremlin said in a statement.
The Kremlin added that Mr Rouhani gave a "high grade" to Russia's role at the so-called P5+1 negotiations that besides Iran, also include the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany.
The last round of talks between Iran and world powers earlier this month come tantalisingly close to finding a framework agreement that would have suspended some elements of Teheran's disputed programme in exchange for partial sanctions relief.
The terms of the potential deal have been vehemently opposed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and some powerful members of the US Congress.
Mr Netanyahu - who views a partial suspension of sanctions as detrimental to the negotiations - outlined his opposition to the agreement during talks with French President Francois Hollande on Sunday.
The Israeli head of state will continue his diplomatic offensive when he meets Mr Putin in Moscow on Wednesday and receives US Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday.