U.S. officials told NBC News that they are "getting close" to reaching an agreement on the first part of a multiphase deal over Iran's nuclear program.
A potential deal is expected to ban Iran from advancing its atomic program beyond its current state. In exchange, a limited number of sanctions would be lifted against the country. Officials said the number of sanctions included in the deal could be smaller than previously estimated.
"That would put crucial time on the clock for us to negotiate a comprehensive agreement that addresses all of the international communities' concerns about Iran's nuclear program — all the while it halts the progress of that program. The agreement would include unprecedented monitoring and verification and therefore make it harder for Iran to do anything in secret," a senior U.S. official said.
The United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, Russia, Germany, and Iran are expected to meet in Geneva next week for the second round of talks.
The news comes in the midst of an intense lobbying effort by the administration to convince the Senate to delay additional sanctions against Iran, arguing that they would derail talks and potentially lead to military action.The move has received bipartisan pushback. But on Friday, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said in a statement that she would "oppose any new sanctions as long as we are making progress toward a genuine solution."