Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) have started their second day of expert-level nuclear talks in the Turkish city of Istanbul.
Iran and the P5+1 – Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany – agreed to hold the expert-level meeting during their previous negotiations in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on February 26-27. The two sides agreed to convene again in the city on April 5-6 to continue talks.
Earlier, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton called on the P5+1 group of world powers to be “determined and creative” in the upcoming talks with Iran.
Ashton said on Saturday that the P5+1 should take more measures in order to build “communication” and “trust” with Iran.
Iran and the P5+1 group have held several rounds of talks with the main focus on Iran’s nuclear energy program.
After the Almaty talks, both sides expressed hope and optimism about the future of the negotiations. On February 28, Reuters quoted an unnamed Western diplomat as saying that the Almaty talks had been “more constructive and more positive than previous meetings because they were really focusing on the proposal on the table.”
In an interview with Austrian broadcaster ORF on March 1, Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi also described the latest round of the talks as a “milestone” and a “turning point in the negotiations.”
The United States, Israel, and some of their allies have repeatedly accused Iran of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.
Iran rejects the allegation, arguing that as a committed signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.