Iran and six world powers are due on May 13 to start a new round of negotiations in Vienna aimed at reaching a broad, permanent diplomatic resolution to their decade-old nuclear dispute.
The talks between Tehran and the so-called P5+1 come a day after the United Nations' nuclear watchdog and Iranian negotiators ended a three-hour meeting in Vienna without announcing any new action that would ease Western concerns Iran is trying to secretly build nuclear weapons.
That has left it unclear whether any progress was achieved on May 12 by Iran and officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
But the IAEA did indicate after the May 12 meeting that Iran must do more to fully implement of a series of nuclear transparency steps it had agreed to undertake by May 15.
U.S. officials said last month that the talks in Vienna beginning May 13 would aim to draft a permanent accord on Iran’s nuclear program.
In Washington on May 12, U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice said Iran must agree to “verifiable action” or there will be no final deal that lifts economic sanctions against Iran.
Rice said: “Put simply, if we are not satisfied, there will be no deal."
A November 2013 interim accord was reached in Geneva that temporarily eases sanctions against Tehran.
Under the interim deal, Tehran agreed to freeze some nuclear activities for six months in exchange for partial sanctions relief.
The interim deal also made it clear that the P5+1 would let Iran enrich uranium on a limited scale – but not to weapons-grade levels -- under a final agreement.
Iran has pledged that it would adhere to the IAEA’s verification requirements by May 15 so that talks on drafting a permanent deal with the P5+1 can move forward in Vienna this week.
The P5+1 includes the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia, and Germany.
Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP