THE foreign ministers of the US and Iran have held rare private talks to discuss the next stage in efforts to reach a definitive agreement to end a decade-old dispute over Iran's nuclear programme.

US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference to talk about nuclear negotiations between six world powers and Iran that will resume in Vienna later this month.

The talks will aim to settle the nuclear dispute after Iran agreed, under a landmark preliminary deal last November, to halt its most sensitive nuclear operations in return for winning some relief from sanctions.

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In his talks with Mr Zarif, Mr Kerry stressed the importance of both sides negotiating in good faith and Iran abiding by its commitments under the November interim accord, a US State Department ­official said.

The US and EU suspended some sanctions against Iran under the interim deal but Mr Kerry made clear to Mr Zarif the US would continue to enforce other sanctions.