WASHINGTON: The United States may start lifting sanctions on Iran from Friday, or later this weekend, when the International Atomic Energy Agency is expected to verify that the country has rolled back its nuclear programme, officials said.

Secretary of State John Kerry predicted on Wednesday this goal could be achieved within days, as Iran had already fulfilled most of its obligations under a nuclear deal it signed with the United States and five other world powers in July last year.

In Tehran, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchitold reporters that he expected the IAEA to verify Iran’s compliance on Friday.

And the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported that soon after the verification, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini would announce the implementation day.

The US media reported that foreign ministers from Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia — who signed the nuclear deal along with Iran and the United States — might meet in Vienna to deliver a joint statement. Secretary Kerry, who would be in Europe this weekend, may also attend the event.

But the State Department said Mr Kerry was going to London to meet Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir to discuss a range of bilateral and global issues, ‘including Iran and the ongoing crisis in Syria”.