A protester in Tehran today. (Getty)
A protester in Tehran todayGetty

Hardline Iranian students took to the streets of Tehran on Sunday to demand that their government does not cave in to western demands, as it attempts to strike a nuclear deal with the West in Vienna.

About 300 protesters, dressed in conservative Islamic garb, and chanting "death to the US and Israel", gathered near the country's nuclear reactor, demanding that western sanctions are dropped, and Iran is allowed to continue its nuclear programme unhindered, reports NBC.

"We are here to tell America that we will not surrender, we will never give up our rights and we are against all sanctions," 19-year-old student Saghafi told NBC News.

Thomas Erdbrink of the New York Times tweeted that the protesters were segregated by sex, and that authorities usually ban protests in front of the nuclear reactor site.

Iranian president Hasan Rouhani has adopted a more diplomatic approach in his dealing with the US and other western governments, as sanctions damage the country's economy.

In the negotiations in Vienna, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that "serious gaps" remained as the two sides attempt to broker a deal.

A key sticking point is said to be US concerns that Iran could continue to develop a weapon at an undetected site, and are pushing for the wording of any agreement to accommodate broad searches for traces of a weapons programme.

The self-imposed deadline for the talks expires tonight, with some suggesting that they could be extended.

Iran denies that it is developing a nuclear weapon, and insists that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes only.

In Iran opinion is divided, with many welcoming the new president's attempts to seek a compromise, and conservatives demanding that he refuse to back down to western demands for regular inspections of nuclear facilities in exchange for sanctions being lifted.