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Kerry says deal not imminent as Iran, US energy chiefs join talks

Iran atomic energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi and US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz joined Iran nuclear negotiations in Geneva, but US Secretary of State John Kerry tamped down expectations that a deal could be imminent.
Sergei Kiriyenko (R), head of the Russian state nuclear monopoly Rosatom, and head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation Ali Akbar Salehi shakes hands during a signing ceremony in Moscow, November 11, 2014. Russia will build two new nuclear power plant units in Iran under an agreement signed in Moscow on Tuesday. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov (RUSSIA - Tags: POLITICS ENERGY BUSINESS) - RTR4DP58

Geneva — The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi and US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz joined Iran nuclear negotiations here for the first time Feb. 21, raising expectations that talks had reached a critical point. US Secretary of State John Kerry, however, sought to tamp down expectations that Iran and six world powers were close to finalizing a preliminiary political agreement, telling reporters that there were still significant gaps.

Salehi, the MIT-educated head of the AEOI and former Iranian foreign minister, joined this round of nuclear negotiations “so that all the technical issues can be resolved at the highest level,” a senior Iranian official told, a semi-official account for Iran’s nuclear negotiating team, led by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

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