Iran Hails Nuclear Talks With EU as 'Positive and Fruitful'

Islamic Republic's chief nuclear negotiator says technical experts find 'common points' during meeting with EU's policy chief Catherine Ashton in Istanbul .

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator on Wednesday reported progress in talks aimed at restarting negotiations over Tehran's nuclear program, calling a meeting with European foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton a day earlier "positive and fruitful."

Saeed Jalili offered few concrete details about Tuesday's meeting with Ashton in Istanbul, but said the two had assessed some "common points" reached by technical teams looking into the issue and had discussed "what can be done for a new cooperation."

"We discussed common points found by the experts and technical teams ... so that they may be brought closer together and that a framework for future talks can be drawn," Jalili said. "We hope (our) talks can help bring the common points closer together."

Earlier, the EU released a brief statement saying the talks that ended early Wednesday were "useful and constructive" and "an important opportunity to stress once again to Iran the urgent need to make progress." The EU said Ashton would brief representatives of the U.S. and five other world powers next week in New York about her efforts to restart negotiations that fizzled in June. "We are awaiting the result of the six powers' assessment," Jalili said.

Efforts for a breakthrough on restarting talks over Tehran's nuclear program have gained new urgency with fear that the failure of negotiations could prompt Israel to make good on a threat to attack Iran's nuclear installations. Iran denies it is making nuclear weapons.

On Monday, its nuclear chief, Fereydoun Abbasi, said that "terrorists and saboteurs" might have infiltrated the International Atomic Energy Agency in an effort to derail his nation's atomic program.

Parchin military base, about 30 kilometers from Tehran.Credit: Haaretz

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