Negotiators from Iran and six world powers are meeting in Geneva Thursday in their latest bid to resolve a decade-long standoff over the Iranian nuclear program.
This series of talks started with what was described as a "good meeting" over breakfast between Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif and the European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, who chairs the U.N. team.
Full delegations from Iran, the five permanent Security Council members, Germany and the EU then met for 45 minutes together. Smaller group meetings were taking place throughout the day.
Zarif said his talks with Ashton "went well," Reuters reported.
He continued, "We are beginning to get to more detailed discussions this afternoon. I'm hopeful that we can move forward. ... We are making progress but it's tough."
An EU spokesman says the talks are now entering "a serious phase."
After just one round of formal talks and one experts' meeting since the new Iranian government took power in July, a senior U.S. official says the two sides are coming to understand what a "first step" would look like.
Iran is seeking relief from international sanctions, while the six nations want assurances that Iran is not trying to build nuclear weapons.