U.S. negotiators heading back to Geneva this week for a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program are under pressure to reach a deal before new sanctions legislation gains traction in Congress.

Acting Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman is leading a U.S. team that will meet Thursday through Sunday with Iranian negotiators before Jan. 18 talks between the "P5+1" group — the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China — and Iran.

It will be the second round of talks since an interim deal was again extended on Nov. 24 for seven months. Negotiators hope to have the framework for a permanent deal in place by March and finalize it before the extension runs out June 30.

"I expect that once they have this round of discussions they’ll have — they’ll make determinations about the schedule moving forward," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Thursday.

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