European and Iranian officials have offered no indication talks are moving forward on the nuclear standoff with Tehran, following a meeting in Brussels. Talks occurred on the eve of a critical meeting on Iran in the French capital.
The Brussels meeting took place between EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Ali Larijani, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator. It is the latest in a series of meetings between Iranian and Western officials to coax Iran to give up its controversial nuclear weapons program.
But during a news conference in Brussels, neither Solana nor Larijani indicated any breakthrough in the standoff.
Larijani said the two men had discussed a wide range of important issues. More consultations would be carried out, and the two sides would be in contact in order to see how to proceed. The process would be long, Larijani said, and he called for patience.
And in Iran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying Iran would not back down on its right to produce nuclear fuel.
Solana will be briefing foreign ministers from Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain, along with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Wednesday, in Paris.
Last month, Solana presented Larijani a package of incentives to coax Iran to abandon its nuclear program. Western and other nations fear Iran may be trying to build a nuclear weapon. Iran insists its program is for peaceful, civilian purposes.
Iranian officials have also suggested they will wait several more weeks before responding to the incentives package. The United States, for one, wants a far speedier response. Some Western officials have reportedly warned they will start pushing again for U.N. sanctions if Iran does not respond to the package by Wednesday.