Istanbul hosts expert-level talks over Iran nuke program
ISTANBUL – Agence France-PresseIranian and foreign nuclear experts gathered in Istanbul yesterday to discuss Tehran’s controversial atomic program, a European Union spokeswoman said.
“The meeting is taking place at the expert-level as planned,” said Maja Kocijancic, spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who is leading talks between Iran and the so-called P5+1 -Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany. The closed-door meeting is being held in a secret location in the Turkish city, Kocijancic added.
Ashton, and the chief Iranian negotiator, Saeed Jalili, had announced that technical experts would meet in Istanbul.
Iran and the P5+1 resumed discussions over the decade-old dispute late February after a months-long break and failed meetings in Istanbul, Baghdad and Moscow.
The talks - held in Kazakhstan - saw the five U.N. Security Council members and Germany offer Iran a softening of non-oil or financial sector-related sanctions in exchange for concessions over Tehran’s sensitive uranium enrichment operations.
The talks were praised by Tehran as a possible turning point in the dispute, and the next political-level meeting takes place in the Kazakh city of Almaty on April 5-6. Before meeting in Kazakhstan, Iran had recently rejected proposed talks in Istanbul on Jan. 28–29.