EU confident Iran nuclear talks can progress | News | DW | 15.04.2012
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EU confident Iran nuclear talks can progress

The EU said talks between Western powers, along with Russia and China, and Iran over the latter's nuclear program have been "constructive and useful." Talks are expected to resume on May 23.

The EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton spread cautious optimism at global talks with Iran over its nuclear program in Istanbul on Saturday, saying that the meeting had been "constructive" and that another meeting would take place on May 23.

"We expect the subsequent meetings will lead to concrete steps towards a comprehensive negotiated solution which restores international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program," she told reporters.

"We want now to move to a sustained process of dialogue ... We will be guided by the principle of a step-by-step approach," she said.

Watch video 01:32

Istanbul hosts Iran nuclear talks

The talks are aimed at ending the stalemate over Tehran's suspected nuclear weapons drive. Diplomats from the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany attended the meeting on Saturday.

Iran speaks of progress

Iran's chief negotiator Saeed Jalili also sounded a positive note at the meeting, saying that " we witnessed progress, there were differences of opinion ... but the points we agreed on were important." He said the next round of talks should be "based on confidence-building measures."

Meanwhile, Iran turned down a request by the United States for a rare bilateral meeting on the sidelines. The US and Iran broke off diplomatic ties in the wake of the 1979 Islamic revolution, which toppled the US-backed Shah.

Iran's developing capabilities in terms of uranium enrichment which, although currently deployed for power generation and other peaceful purposes, could also be used to make nuclear weapons. This is a growing worry for other nations.

In particular, countries are anxious about activity in the formerly covert Fordo site, nestled in a mountain bunker close to the holy city of Qom. The site is currently enriching to 20 percent purity, but this could reach as much as 90 percent, according to experts, enough to create nuclear weapons.

Questions over Fordo and a UN atomic agency report last November on alleged “weaponization” efforts have led to tougher EU, UN and US sanctions on Iran and threats of military action from Israel.

ng, sej/sb (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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