Iran, World Powers to Meet at Expert Level July 3 in Istanbulإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Significant gaps still exist between Iran and world powers in the standoff over Tehran's disputed nuclear program, the EU foreign policy chief said Tuesday after two days of talks in Moscow.
"It remains clear that there are significant gaps between the substance of the two positions," EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told reporters after what she said were "tough and frank" exchanges.
She said an expert-level meeting would take place on July 3 in Istanbul with a higher-level meeting involving herself and chief Iranian negotiator Saeed Jalili to follow at an unspecified later date.
The world powers are the so-called "P5+1" -- permanent U.N. Security Council members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany -- with their negotiating team led by Ashton.
Ashton said the world powers reaffirmed their demands for Iran to stop enriching uranium to 20-percent purity, ship out the existing stock of such material, and shut down its heavily-fortified Fordo enrichment facility.
"The choice is Iran's," she said.
"We expect Iran to decide whether it is willing to make diplomacy work, to focus on reaching agreement on concrete confidence-building steps, and to address the concerns of the international community."
Ashton said that for the first time in their talks the Iranian side had addressed the substance of the crisis but made clear there had been no sign of a breakthrough in the Moscow meeting.
"In the last session, Dr. Jalili and I spoke about the fact that nobody in that room wants talks for talks' sake."
"And the fact is that they (Iran) did begin to address the substance for the first time but there is a very long way to go."