Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet on Sunday in Geneva, again seeking advance towards a comprehensive nuclear agreement by a July 1 deadline.

The lead Iranian and American negotiators — Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi and Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman — began talks on Friday and will continue today.

The European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini will join Zarif and Kerry on Sunday and Monday.

Lead Iranian negotiator Araqchi said Friday’s discussions were “positive and serious” but said this did not mean “extraordinary progress”. Indicating that agreement is not imminent, he urged the US and its allies to take up detailed points:

We seek innovation and development in the way the negotiations are being held in a bid to speed up work….

After one year of negotiations on all aspects and topics, we have come to a point where we should enter into details.

Last month, Kerry and Zarif met for seven hours in Geneva amid week-long intensive talks between Iran, the US, and the other 5+1 Powers (Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia). However, the two men could not close differences on key issues such as the number and level of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges for uranium enrichment, the lifting of US-led sanctions, and the duration of an agreement.

US officials subsequently put out the possibility of a two-stage resolution, with an agreement on General Principles in March and a comprehensive deal by July 1. However, Iran’s Supreme Leader has firmly rejected the option, insisting on a full and final one-stage settlement.

Zarif repeated the line on Friday and continued:

I think that there are important issues in our discussions — if we agree on them, reaching a full agreement is not a problem.

If the other side wants to be greedy, we have no problem showing the world that the Islamic Republic wants a good and reasonable agreement.

Tehran Friday Prayer: Don’t Elect Rafsanjani as Head of Assembly of Experts

Delivering the Tehran Friday Prayer, Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi Kermani warned worshippers that former President Hashemi Rafsanjani must not be elected as head of the influential Assembly of Experts next month.

Rafsanjani, who led the Assembly from 2007 to 2011 but was then defeated in a re-election bid, is fervently disliked by hardline politicians and clerics. Rumors have circulated for months about a possible opponent, including Ayatollah Movahedi Kermani, but no choice has been made. Meanwhile, the denunciation of the former President has continued, with criticism of his son Mehdi Hashemi — on trial for fraud — and claims of Rafsanjani’s involvement in “sedition”.

Movahedi Kermani said on Friday that the members of the Assembly of Experts must be “saturated with obedience to the Supreme Leader” and that a wrong choice in the election could be catastrophic.

The Assembly of Experts chooses the Supreme Leader and has the nominal power to replace him. Rafsanjani suggested in an interview last week that a council should replace the Supreme Leader after Ayatollah Khamenei left the position.

Its head, Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani, passed away in October after a heart attack and a lengthy coma.