"The United States and five other world powers went to the table with Tehran Thursday to discuss its nuclear program, but senior administration officials said the U.S. would not push for sanctions against Iran at the Geneva talks and is prepared to talk one-on-one with Iranian negotiators if such engagement appears "useful."
The officials also said that while gaining access to inspect Iran's uranium enrichment facility near Qom is "critically important," the U.S. won't walk away from negotiations if Iran refuses.
"Tomorrow is the negotiations track and that is the thrust," a senior official said ahead of the talks. "The thrust is dealing with this nuclear program and trying to get a process underway to address the growing international concern. These will not be easy talks."
The talks were expected to last the full day.
If the leader of the U.S. delegation, William Burns, decides direct talks with Iran would move U.S. objectives forward, he's authorized to do so. This would amount to a huge shift in U.S. willingness to negotiate with Iran. The last time the U.S. attended the so-called P5 +1 talks (the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany) it did so merely as an observer."
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