The US State Department deputy spokesperson, Marie Harf, said on Wednesday that Iran's absence from the Geneva II peace conference on Syria will not affect the talks between Tehran and the major world powers over Iran's nuclear programme.
Harf told reporters that: "We have been very clear and the Iranians, I think, have been clear, certainly in our discussions, that these are separate issues. The nuclear negotiations are one set of negotiations, and the discussion about if Iran should go to Geneva II or what role they can play in Syria are completely separate. The negotiations over Iran's nuclear programme represent a path and those related to Iran attending the Geneva II conference and the role it plays in Syria is completely separate."
She continued: "We've clearly had credible disagreements over Syria throughout the entire nuclear negotiating process," but added "That really is separate. I think both we and the Iranians probably have a desire to keep them separate."
Iran and the P5+1 group, which includes the US, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany, reached an interim agreement last November over Iran's nuclear programme that entered into force on 20 January for a six-month period, during which time they aim to reach a permanent agreement.