Abbas Araghchi

Iran began direct nuclear negotiations with the United States on Thursday in Geneva. Iranian deputy foreign ministers Abbas Araghchi and Majid Takht-Ravanchi attended the meeting with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Wendy Sherman, the U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. Nuclear experts from both sides were also present.

A senior Iranian official says the objective of the meeting is to “continue consultations on issues on contention between the parties and to evaluate closely the different views.”

Iran and the 5+1 have agreed to extend the deadline for reaching a final nuclear agreement for another four months, and the most contentious issue reportedly remains Iran’s uranium enrichment capabilities.

Ali Akbar Salehi, the head Iran’s Atomic Agency, recently said the negotiations were progressing well and there was no place for any concerns. However, the conservative faction of the Islamic Republic is sounding alarms about the possibility of conceding too much in the negotiations.

In the United States, a group of Republican representatives has called on the U.S. government to submit any agreement with Iran to Congress before final approval.

According to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, the negotiations between Iran and the world powers will recommence in September.