Iran nuclear talks underway

Iran maintains that its nuclear programme is for energy generation and medical purposes.

FILE: An Iranian worker at the South Pars gas field development in the southern port town of Asaluyeh. Picture: AFP.

GENEVA - World powers began two days of talks with Iran in Geneva on Thursday in the hope of hammering out a breakthrough deal to start resolving a decade-old dispute over Tehran's nuclear intentions.

Both sides say an agreement is far from certain but Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said ahead of the talks that a deal was possible "if everyone tries their best".

Iran rejects western suspicions it wants the capability to make atomic bombs, and demands the lifting of international sanctions in exchange for any concessions in its nuclear work. It says it needs atomic power for energy generation and medical purposes.

The six powers - the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany - say they were encouraged about chances of a deal after the June election of President Hassan Rouhani, who has pledged to repair ties with the West and win relief from sanctions.