Publishe Date: 1:51 PM - 9/17/2012 | Print

Iran's Top Negotiator to Meet Ashton in Istanbul

Politics - Iran's top negotiator Saeed Jalili arrived in Turkey on Monday to meet with senior Turkish officials on the latest developments in the negotiations between Iran and the six world powers before a Tuesday meeting with EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton.

Jalili, who is also Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), arrived in Ankara on Monday and is planned to meet President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as well as Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

On Tuesday, the Iranian top security official will hold bilateral talks with Ashton, who represents the Group 5+1 powers (the five permanent UN Security Council member states plus Germany) in negotiations with Tehran.

Michael Mann, an Ashton spokesman, had earlier informed the media of an impending meeting between the two top negotiators.

Speaking to FNA on August 30, Mann said the talks that were due to be held by August 31 had been postponed to a date in the near future.

Earlier reports said that Jalili and Ashton were due to exchange views over the latest stances expressed by the two sides' experts in their July 3 meeting in Istanbul.

After a 15-month hiatus, Iran and the Group 5+1 held several rounds of talks this year, with the latest one in Moscow on June 18-19.

At the end of the Moscow talks, Jalili and Ashton announced that they would hold a meeting after talks between their deputies and also a meeting between the two sides' experts.

In early July, Iran and the six world powers ended two days of talks by technical experts who discussed the details of the two sides' proposals to end the nuclear standoff between Tehran and the sextet.

Later in July, the deputy lead negotiators of Iran and the six world powers, Ali Baqeri and Helga Schmidt, met in Istanbul to exchange views over the results of the experts' talks.

Also, Jalili and Ashton had a phone conversation on August 2, during which the former reminded the constructive and initiative stances presented by Tehran in Istanbul, and urged Group 5+1 to provide a clear response in this regard.

In response, Ashton hailed Iran's practicable proposals, and pledged to discus Iran's viewpoints with the representatives of the world powers to prepare a justifiable response.
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