EU, Iran meet on nuke drive in Istanbul

EU, Iran meet on nuke drive in Istanbul

EU, Iran meet on nuke drive in Istanbul

Chief Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili speaks to the media after the talks on the controversial Iranian nuclear programme in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, June 19, 2012. AP Photo

Senior European and Iranian diplomats were set to meet in Istanbul yesterday to seek common ground on Tehran’s disputed nuclear drive, officials said.

The two high-ranking diplomats, the EU Deputy Secretary General for Political Affairs Helga Schmid and Iranian deputy nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri, were scheduled to lead the talks, according to the Mehr News Agency. The meeting was set to held at a secret location and closed to the press, according to Maja Kocijancic, a spokeswoman of EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, Agence France-Presse reported.
An Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast, said a press briefing in Tehran: “The goal is to bring the positions of Iran and the P5+1 closer together,” referring to the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany. “We must wait for the outcome of the meeting,” he remarked.

The P5+1 has asked Iran to immediately stop enriching uranium to the high level of 20 percent, to ship out its existing 20 percent stock and to shut down a fortified underground enrichment facility. Meeting was set to be followed by a “contact” between Ashton, who is leading negotiations with Iran in the name of the P5+1, and Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili.