U.S., Iran Hope to Keep Talk of Iraq Out of Nuclear Negotiations

WASHINGTON (Tribune Washington Bureau/MCT) -

As they return to nuclear talks in Vienna on Monday, U.S. and Iranian diplomats are taking care to prevent the upheaval in Iraq from creating another complication for their high-priority negotiations.

Both countries have a mutual interest in preventing the collapse of the Iraqi government, which is confronting a small army of Sunni extremists on the northern outskirts of Baghdad.

But they have been at odds over each other’s role in Iraq and could come in conflict again now, even as the talks reach a sensitive moment.

The nuclear talks, which in this round will run Monday through Friday, are aimed at a deal that would prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons capability in exchange for a lifting of the tough international sanctions on its economy. Iran and the six world powers-France, Britain, Germany, Russia, China and the United States-are aiming for a deadline of July 20.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, speaking in Tehran Saturday, left the door open to a U.S.-Iranian collaboration.