U.S. diplomats will meet with their Iranian counterparts on Monday and Tuesday in Geneva to try to seal a deal over Iran's nuclear program.
NPR's Peter Kenyon reports the diplomats are racing to try to work out a deal before the July 20th deadline that was set by an interim agreement reached back in November. The interim agreement, Peter reminds us, also allows for a one-time, six-month extension, so analysts are dubious that a permanent deal will come together this summer.
Still, the U.S. is sending Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns to the table. He was the diplomat who undertook back-channel talks that led to the historic interim agreement. So, as Peter puts it, this means this is a high-level push for a deal.
"The most recent round of nuclear talks between Iran and six major powers in Vienna last month ran into difficulties, with each side accusing the other of having unrealistic demands in negotiations aimed at curbing Tehran's atomic program in exchange for an end to economic sanctions.
"The U.S. decision to travel to Geneva and meet with the Iranian delegation, which a senior U.S. official said might be led by Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, appeared to reflect Washington's desire to try to break the deadlock.
"'In order to really seriously test whether we can reach a diplomatic solution with Iran on its nuclear program, we believe we need to engage in very active and very aggressive diplomacy,' the senior U.S. official told Reuters."