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Europe Iran Nuclear Talks to Continue in Turkey Next Month

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton attends a meeting on External Action Service, at the European Parliament in Brussels, 08 Nov. 2010

Iran and representatives of six world powers agreed to meet next month in Turkey after two days of talks in Geneva aimed at breaking a deadlock over Tehran's nuclear program.

In brief remarks to the press, European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton called nearly two days of discussions with Iran detailed and substantive. She said the two sides would meet again in late January in Istanbul as they seek to resolve a standoff over Iran's nuclear program. Ashton spoke on behalf of six world powers – the United States, Britain, Germany, China, France and Russia.

"The countries I represent are united in seeking a resolution of the international community's concern regarding Iran's nuclear program," Ashton said.

Iran insists its nuclear activities, which include enriching uranium, are for purely peaceful purposes. But many members of the international community fear Iran is trying to build a nuclear bomb. Analyst Simon Henderson of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy told VOA that Iran did not need to enrich uranium, since it can – and is – getting enriched uranium from elsewhere.

"It just doesn't make sense for Iran to say it needs nuclear technology for power purposes," said Henderson. "That is one of the overwhelming reasons why there is such suspicion that Iran is going for a nuclear weapon."

The Geneva meeting is the first time major powers have held face-to-face discussions with Iran in more than a year.