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US, Iran Hold 2nd Day of Nuclear Talks

FILE – A nuclear facility near the central city of Arak is shown in January 2011.
The United States and Iran are holding a second day of direct talks about Iran's nuclear program Tuesday, with both sides saying tough choices need to be made to reach a comprehensive agreement before a July 20 deadline.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf described the meeting in Geneva as a "consultation" to discuss outstanding issues ahead of negotiations next week between Iran and a group of six world powers. She said the talks are at a "critical juncture."

Iranian state media quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi as saying the July deadline may need to be extended another six months.

The U.S., Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany want limits and transparency to ensure Iran's nuclear program is peaceful, while Iran wants the repeal of sanctions that have hurt its economy.

Iranian officials are due to meet with Wednesday with officials from France, and then Russia.

Iran agreed last November to curb its uranium enrichment program in exchange for the easing of Western sanctions and talks towards a comprehensive deal.

The United States and its allies suspect Iran of trying to build a nuclear bomb. Iran insists its nuclear program is strictly for peaceful civilian purposes.