EU's Ashton to meet Iran nuclear negotiator in Istanbul
BRUSSELS - Agence France-Presse
Iran's Chief Negotiator Saeed Jalili. REUTERS PhotoEU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will meet Iran's top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili in Istanbul on Tuesday, to follow up global talks on Tehran's disputed atomic programme, her office said.
The meeting "is part of continuing efforts to engage with Iran, led by the High Representative, and in line with the understandings reached at the negotiating round in Moscow in June", a spokeswoman said on Monday.
"While it is not a formal negotiating round, the meeting will be an opportunity to stress once again to Iran the need for an urgent and meaningful confidence building step and to show more flexibility with the proposals ... tabled in Baghdad (in May)." Ashton talked to Jalili by phone in early August as tensions over Iran's nuclear ambitions mounted, driven by concerns arch-foe Israel might launch an attack on its installations, potentially sparking a major conflict.
A diplomatic source in Istanbul said Jalili met Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Monday to discuss the resumption of talks with world powers over Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
"Jalili wanted to come to Turkey to discuss the latest developments on the Iranian nuclear issue," the source told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The so-called P5+1 contact group made up of Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany have asked Iran to immediately stop enriching uranium because of fears Tehran might be developing nuclear weapons.
Iran rejects the allegations, saying its nuclear programme is peaceful and aimed at energy and development purposes only.
Earlier this month, EU nations raised the threat of new international sanctions against Iran failing progress in talks.