Iran, Western Powers Hold 'Constructive' Nuclear Talks

Michael Mann, spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, speaks to media in Istanbul, April 14, 2012.
Michael Mann, spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, speaks to media in Istanbul, April 14, 2012.
Dorian Jones

Talks in Istanbul involving P5+1 countries and Iran over Tehran's controversial nuclear program have ended with a commitment to further talks that are scheduled to take place in Baghdad next month.  Both sides described Saturday's Istanbul meeting as being held in a positive and constructive atmosphere.  

After nearly 10 hours of talks in Istanbul between Iran and world powers, Catherine Ashton, the European Union foreign policy chief, described the discussions as a success.

"The discussions on the Iranian nuclear issue have been constructive and useful," she said.

Saturday's talks saw diplomats from the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia meeting with their Iranian counterparts.  It was the first meeting since talks collapsed 15 months ago in Istanbul, amid mutual recriminations.  Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful, but critics suspect it is being used to develop weapons.  

Iran's chief negotiator, Saeed Jalili, said Saturday's talks saw important common ground being developed. "We have differences of opinion, but the points we agreed upon are important and significant. Various issues for cooperation and issues for talks were agreed upon for the next meeting," he said.

That next meeting is planned for Baghdad in May.  Apart from both sides recognizing the importance of abiding by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and acknowledging Tehran's right to develop nuclear energy, there were no other specific details of what common ground was achieved.  A series of meetings is planned ahead of the Baghdad talks.  

Those meetings are expected to bring together diplomats and technical experts who will aim to lay the groundwork for concrete proposals to be discussed in Baghdad.  The EU foreign policy chief says an important process has been started.

"We want now to move to a sustained process of serious dialogue where we can take urgent and practical steps to build confidence and lead on to compliance by Iran with all its international obligations.  In our efforts to do so, we will be guided by the principle of the step-by-step approach and reciprocity," she said.

The current talks come as international pressure on Tehran continues to mount.  New U.S. and EU economic sanctions against Iran are due to come into effect July 1, while Israel has warned it may take military action.

U.S. President Barack Obama has also warned the latest diplomatic efforts are the last chance for diplomacy to work.  Observers say next month's meeting in Baghdad will be a key test of those efforts, when the talks are expected to start to focus on concrete measures to allay international concern over Iran's nuclear program.

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Comment Sorting
by: Hamilton
April 15, 2012 11:12 AM
The western world has non violent intent in developing nuclear programs,instead there men,resources etc are to protect weaker nations just as in kuwait.iran should be discouraged from pilling weapons of mass destruction as there history of wars sugests.

by: Cha Cha Cohen
April 15, 2012 3:12 AM
Everyone should preach whatever they practice. And we should aim for a war free beautiful world with opportunities to progress for all towrds peace!

by: Kammy
April 15, 2012 12:52 AM
This is the first time I submit my words here.
i want to say nothing but supporting Iran !

by: iran
April 14, 2012 9:27 PM
Explain what is one of these games? What is a constructive dialogue? Who is short? Iran has accepted what?

by: mrd
April 14, 2012 7:57 AM
I find this amazing. Here we have the US, UK, France with their nuclear weapons sanctioning Iran and threatening it with war becuase of suspicion that Iran MAY want nukes too. How many nukes does Israel have, built through Western collusion? A case of all animals being equal but some more equal than others? US, UK, France and Israel should first give up their own nukes before pontificating to others.

by: tezol
April 13, 2012 10:10 PM
Iranian totalitarianism draws it's energy from West's antagonism. As they say: what does not kill you makes you stronger".
If you want to see fundamental change in Iran, just leave it to itself. The internal forces will cause the change in the way the outcome is beneficial for West and Iranian people.

Current situation is a GRIND

by: Farhad
April 13, 2012 5:59 PM
Best way to fight a chaotic government like IRI is for the USA to actually be extra kind and acommodating to IRI, so there is no excuse for them to demonize USA further amongst Iranian population to decelerate their demise. Majority of Iranians are the least Moslem of the Middle East and the most friendly towards the West in reality. I pray instead of war, cults, and false religions, there will be more love, intelligence and rationality in the horizon for Iran and rest of the world.

by: Exenon
April 13, 2012 5:54 PM
if the weak west continues in its appeasement of the Iranians and North Koreans it will reap the harvest that the western powers did in 1939. Had a show of force been presented to Hitler then when Germany was totally unprepared to take on the soon to be allies, there would have been a less odious outcome. Those two countries are dysfunctional to the extent that reasoned argument is superfluous. Force is the only language open to them.

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