EU, Iran to hold nuke meetings in Istanbul

EU, Iran to hold nuke meetings in Istanbul

BRUSSELS - Reuters
EU, Iran to hold nuke meetings in Istanbul

Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Jalili (R) poses with EU foreign policy chief Ashton (L) in Baghdad in this May 23 photo. AFP photo

Senior diplomats from the European Union nations, P5+1, and Iran will meet on July 24 in Istanbul for technical talks on Tehran’s disputed nuclear program to try to salvage diplomatic efforts to resolve the decade-long standoff, EU officials said on July 9.

The meeting in Istanbul will be the second in a series of discussions to clarify technical aspects of Tehran’s activity. 

It follows an agreement by Iran and the six-nation P5+1 in June to use such talks to decide whether diplomacy tackling broader political issues should continue in the face of vast differences in views over the nature of Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

“The objective for the meeting ... is to look further at how existing gaps in positions could be narrowed and how the process could be moved forward,” a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said.

Ashton’s spokesman said talks would continue after the July 24 meeting between Iran’s deputy chief negotiator, Ali Bagheri, and a senior member of Ashton’s team, Helga Schmid. Ashton and Iran’s chief negotiator, Saeed Jalili, would be in contact in the future, he said.

Ashton is spearheading nuclear talks with Iran on behalf of the United States, China, Russia, Britain, Germany and France. 

New sanctions went into place in the past few weeks, with EU governments imposing an embargo on Iranian oil on July 1.

Tensions between the West and Iran have increased since high-level negotiations foundered in Moscow in June, with Tehran saying it had successfully tested medium-range missiles capable of hitting Israel as a response to threats of attack.