Iran says nuclear deal talks with EU to resume on Thursday

TEHERAN (AFP) - Iran and European Union officials representing world powers will meet in Geneva on Thursday to iron out remaining obstacles in implementing a historic nuclear deal, Iranian officials said.

The two-day meeting will focus on "one or two remaining issues pending a political decision" before the deal reached in November can be put into effect, Iran's foreign ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham told reporters on Tuesday.

Under the deal, Iran will curb parts of its nuclear drive for six months in exchange for modest sanctions relief and a promise by Western powers not to impose new sanctions.

This week's talks will bring together Iran's deputy foreign minister Abbas Araqchi and Helga Schmid, the deputy to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Ashton's office represents the so-called P5+1 group of world powers in decade-long negotiations with Iran over its controversial nuclear ambitions.

Experts from Iran and the P5+1 held a series of talks in December on how to implement the accord, after which Iranian officials said "some differences of opinion" were yet to be resolved.

The sides are considering January 20 to begin implementing the deal, which is meant to buy time for diplomacy to clinch a lasting agreement that would allay Western suspicions that Iran is covertly pursing a nuclear weapons capability despite its repeated denials.

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