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U.S., Russia Meet to Discuss Progress of Syrian Chemical Weapons Destruction, Iran's Nuclear Program

Tehran insists its nuclear program is peaceful and says it is enriching uranium to levels needed for medical isotopes and reactor fuel.

U.S. State Secretary John Kerry speaks to the media during a visit to a tuna packaging factory in Bali, Indonesia, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013. Kerry said Sunday that a pair of U.S. military raids against militants in North Africa sends the message that terrorists "can run but they can't hide." Kerry, in Bali for an economic summit, was the highest-level administration to speak about the operations yet. Credit: AP

U.S. State Secretary John Kerry in Bali, Indonesia, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013. (Credit: AP)

Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski

BALI, Indonesia (AP) — The U.S. and Russia on Monday began their first high-level talks since sealing a deal to secure and destroy Syria's chemical weapons — and since the onset of an apparent warming between Iran and the West.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov were meeting to discuss both issues on the sidelines of an economic summit on the Indonesian resort island of Bali.

They will be comparing notes on progress made since they negotiated the Syria agreement last month and updating a Cold War-era nuclear safeguards agreement.

International disarmament inspectors began work Sunday to destroy Syria's estimated 1,000-ton stockpile of chemical weapons. They're working against a Nov. 1 deadline set by the United Nations last month to destroy the Assad government's capability to produce the weapons.

Kerry and Lavrov will also be talking about Iran and its nuclear program. Officials from the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council — the U.S., China, the Russian Federation, France and the United Kingdom — and Germany will meet with representatives from Iran in Geneva on Oct. 15 to hold renewed talks on Iran's nuclear program.

Tehran insists its nuclear program is peaceful and says it is enriching uranium to levels needed for medical isotopes and reactor fuel.

Western powers, including the U.S., fear Iran is trying to build a nuclear bomb and have imposed crippling economic sanctions to encourage Iran to curb its enrichment program.

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