Diplomats seeking to reach an interim accord to ease a decade-long standoff over Iran’s nuclear program began a critical phase of talks today, an Iranian negotiator said. Iran ’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in Geneva, according to an EU statement. U.S. and Iranian negotiators were also set to have direct talks this morning, according to the U.S. delegation. “All will depend on the Ashton talks with Zarif,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi told reporters in the Swiss city. The six world powers Iran is negotiating with need a common stance at this “critical juncture,” he said. Envoys are trying to strike a first-step accord that would give negotiators a six-month window in which to win a broader agreement over Iran’s nuclear work. Israel and the U.S. have said they’re prepared to strike Iran, which controls the world’s No. […]