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US, Iran nuclear talks enter critical round in Lausanne

The US Secretary of State and Iran's Foreign Minister have met in Switzerland's Lausanne to resolve final issues related to Teheran's nuclear program. They will have to come to a political agreement by March 31.

John Kerry, the US Secretary of State and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (pictured above) met in Lausanne on Monday to resolve remaining issues in Tehran's nuclear program. Both leaders were trying to achieve a breakthrough before March 31, when they would agree on a political solution. A final accord would be signed by July 1 this year.

"

If [Iran's nuclear program is] peaceful

, let's get it done. And my hope is that in the next days, that will be possible," Kerry told CBS television in Egypt before travelling to Lausanne.

Iran's Javad Zarif also said there were

"important gaps"

and several questions that "need to be discussed," referring to the future size of Iran's enrichment capabilities which can make nuclear fuel but, which western countries suspect, could also be used to manufacture bombs.

"We need clarity on the way in which sanctions will be lifted and what the guarantees will be for applying the deal," Zarif added.

Tehran's foreign minister was scheduled to meet his British, German, French and EU counterparts later on Monday in Brussels, news agency AFP reported while negotiators from the above countries including Russia and China, also known as the P5+1 group, would join Kerry and Zarif for talks on Tuesday.

Relations between the US and Iran thawed for the first time in 35 years after President Hassan Rouhani took over as the President in Tehran in 2013, the same year the two countries signed a landmark nuclear deal. The partners including the p5+1 group have been pressing for a lasting agreement since then.

Tehran has been the target of several rounds of sanctions for many years now, ever since western countries accused it of using its nuclear power plants for building bombs. The Middle Eastern country however says its nuclear plants produce energy for civil purposes only.

mg/rc (Reuters, AFP)

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