Russia sees 'real opportunity' for Iran nuclear deal

MOSCOW (AFP) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov sees a "real opportunity" for the six-party talks with Iran to reach a deal on Tehran's disputed nuclear programme, the foreign ministry said Saturday.

In a statement released after Mr Lavrov spoke with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Jarad Zarif in Geneva on Friday evening, the Russian ministry called the meeting "a comprehensive and interested exchange of opinions" about how to end disagreements in the negotiations.

"Lavrov underlined that for the first time in many years, the '5+1' and Iran have a real opportunity to come to agreement," the statement quoted Mr Lavrov as saying at the meeting.

Mr Lavrov is to join his counterparts from the P5+1 group - comprising the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany - in Geneva on Saturday in a bid to reach an interim accord with Iran on its nuclear programme after a decade of failed efforts.

Messrs Lavrov and Zarif discussed "key issues in the parties' positions, which inhibit reaching decisions," the statement said, without elaborating.

Mr Lavrov flew to Geneva on Friday and also had a late meeting with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. No details of that conversation were released to the media.