Turkey hopeful but US skeptical on Iran talks

Turkey hopeful but US skeptical on Iran talks

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey hopeful but US skeptical on Iran talks

EU’s Ashton (L) and Iran’s nuclear negotiator Jalili leave after a Istanbul meeting. AP photo

The Istanbul summit between the world powers of the P5+1 and Iran was not sufficient for any sanctions relief although it has been described as “constructive and useful,” said a senior United Stated official who urged Iran to take action in complying with the expectations of the international community over its nuclear program.

“I don’t want to raise anybody’s expectations that all of a sudden large steps will get taken ... We have not seen them address the concerns of the international community. We have seen instead, them proceed forward with their nuclear program in ways that increase the concern of the international community,” a senior U.S. administration official said at a briefing following Saturday’s talks.

“One only expects to look at the issue when there are sufficient concrete steps taken,” the official said.
P5+1, a group comprised of the United States, Russia, China, Germany, France and Britain, met senior Iranian officials over the weekend for the first time in 15 months for talks aimed at calming deepening tensions over Tehran’s nuclear program. They’ve agreed to meet again for a more in-depth meeting on May 23 in Baghdad.

While the atmosphere surrounding the talks was positive, there is urgent need for concrete progress to be made in order to restore international confidence, the U.S. official said.

“We want to move to a sustained process of serious dialogue, where we can take urgent practical steps to build confidence and lead on to compliance by Iran with all its international obligations,” Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s foreign policy chief who headed negotiations for the six international powers, said in a news conference after talks in Istanbul on April 14.

“In our efforts to do so, we will be guided by the principle of the step-by-step approach and reciprocity,” she said.

Talks should next focus on arranging measures to build mutual confidence, Saeed Jalili, the chief Iranian nuclear negotiator, said at a news conference where he voiced Iran’s hope that sanctions against the country would be eased. “The lifting of the sanctions is one of the demands [given] by the Iranian nation,” he said.

Parties agreed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty must be the “key basis” for future talks, which also confirmed Iran’s rights to access peaceful civilian nuclear energy.

As parties did not go into proposals at the meeting, deputies of Jalili and Ashton will draft a “concrete agenda” for the next meeting in Baghdad, a diplomat from P5+1 said. “The agenda would include confidence building measures,” the diplomat said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, who hosted Saturday’s talks, had several bilateral meetings with Ashton and Jalili over the weekend as part of efforts to reconcile relationships between western powers and Iran for the sake of progress. Turkey has contributed to the process as “different modalities of communication,” the U.S. official said.

“We believe that this meeting has provided a contribution to international peace and security. We want these negotiations, which began in Istanbul, to finish successfully. Looking forward, we are prepared to offer every contribution to the process,” Davutoğlu said.

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