Iran nuclear talks 'positive' after 15-month break


Michael Mann, EU foreign policy spokesman: ''The important thing is that the mood is good"

Key talks on Iran's controversial nuclear programme, which have resumed after a 15-month impasse, have been described as "positive" and "totally different" from the last meeting.

Six world powers - the US, UK, France, China, Russia and Germany - and Iran are meeting in Istanbul in Turkey.

Iran says its nuclear programme is peaceful, but critics suspect it of seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

Israel has hinted in recent months that it may carry out a pre-emptive strike.

Michael Mann, a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, said of the talks: "There is a positive atmosphere... contrasting with the last time."

The BBC's James Reynolds, in Istanbul, says the envoys had earlier set the bar pretty low - saying they did not expect detailed, substantive proposals from either side.

What they wanted to see, he says, was whether Iran was ready to seriously engage and, if that happened, there might be another round of talks in four to six weeks time.

'Renewing confidence'

After a two-and-a-half-hour morning session, there was general agreement among the six world powers, known collectively as the P5+1, that there had been progress.

Mr Mann said: "The principles for future talks seem to be there."

Start Quote

The fact that Iran built an underground bunker in secret, then kept changing its stated purpose, worries Western observers”

End Quote Mohsen Asgari and James Reynolds BBC News

One diplomat told Associated Press that Iran appeared ready to discuss its uranium enrichment programme and that the Iranian team had referred to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's "fatwa" on nuclear arms.

Another session later in the day involves bilateral meetings, possibly including a rare US-Iran encounter.

Ahead of the talks, Baroness Ashton said she hoped they would be "the beginnings of a sustained process".

"What we are here to do is to find ways in which we can build confidence between us and ways in which we can demonstrate that Iran is moving away from a nuclear weapons programme."

Chief Iranian negotiator Saeed Jalili said the talks would "serve the dignity of the Iranian nation".

US President Barack Obama earlier described this as a "last chance" for diplomacy to work.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and chief Iranian negotiator Saeed Jalil, Istanbul, 14 April Baroness Ashton, with Saeed Jalili, said she hoped for a lasting process

The P5+1 hope eventually to persuade Iran to reduce its enrichment of uranium and fully open up its nuclear facilities to inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

There are suggestions that the stringent sanctions on Iran could be reduced if it complies with the requests.

The last series of international talks broke down in January 2011 after the parties failed to agree on any issues.

Since then, the IAEA expressed concern that Iran had failed to co-operate with its inspectors and had carried out activities "relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device".

Israel, which believes a nuclear-capable Iran would be a direct threat to its security, has warned that time is running out to prevent that outcome.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he would never allow Israelis to "live in the shadow of annihilation", and hinted his country is ready to strike Iran's nuclear facilities if diplomacy does not work soon.

President Obama has warned against "loose talk of war", while stressing that all options remain open.

Key nuclear sites map

More on This Story


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 255.

    A positive step. Iran have been dodging IAEA inspections, however they do stick to arabic guidlines. Iran are doing nothing wrong in their community. We however can't be flippant about the safety of nuclear weapons, but we can't threaten war when there is as yet no sign they want to destroy anyone. What is more likely to make Iran hostile? Threats from US defence missiles and Israel or talks?

  • rate this

    Comment number 202.

    Iran and Israel are on a collision course which could have severe reverberations. Iran's nuclear intentions are suspect especially after the discovery of secret installations. If Iran does not come clean,there is a strong likelihood of a preemptive strike by Israel. Nobody in their right senses wants a conflict of this nature. But the ball is in Iran's court! Pride comes before a fall!

  • rate this

    Comment number 93.

    For the sake of everyone it`s crucial that these talks succeed. The west must learn to trust and Iran must allow inspectors in. Were you to ask the people of these countries they would want rid of nuclear weapons once and for all, it`s governments that are holding progress back.

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    It all went wrong when secret facilities were discovered in Iran.
    Noone did really care about their intentions of using nuclear power until those buildings were discovered, not to mention that IAEA inspectors never had knowledge about them.
    If Tehran's goal is a peaceful one, why on earth are they so mysterious? If they have nothing to hide then what's the reason behind their behaviour?

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    Let’s hope this time it is not a delay tactic by Iran and they’re serious about allowing their programme to be monitored so it can be ensured they are not building a nuclear weapon. Iran’s imams cannot be allowed nuclear weapons. Whether it’s fair or not is irrelevant. Israel will act if this is allowed & that must be avoided.


More Middle East stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.