Washington's top envoy pressed Iran for further action to curb its bomb-usable nuclear activities ahead of a planned meeting on the efforts, Reuters reports.
The Middle Eastern nation has not adequately assured other governments that its nuclear program is strictly nonmilitary, casting uncertainty on the outcome of a multilateral dialogue in advance of a "fast approaching" July 20 cutoff date, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry wrote in a Monday commentary for the Washington Post. His admonishment came one day before Iranian diplomats were scheduled to launch new discussions in Vienna with counterparts from China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Tehran's "public optimism about the potential outcome of these negotiations has not been matched, to date, by the positions they have articulated behind closed doors," Kerry wrote. The sides are trying to finalize terms for a compromise by July 20, when an interim deal is scheduled to expire.
"These gaps aren't caused by excessive demands on our part," Kerry argued, adding that the other negotiating nations had exhibited "flexibility to the extent possible."
Deputy Secretary of State William Burns is expected to join this week's meeting, creating a potential for Tehran and Washington to engage in direct discussions, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, a senior Iranian diplomat on Monday urged the five permanent U.N. Security Council member nations and Germany to adopt a "realistic" approach to the talks, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
The six countries should "consider realities of Iran's nuclear program since the talks will advance based on realities," Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said in comments reported by Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting.