Iran and six world powers have ended talks on the country’s nuclear plans with an agreement to reconvene early next year, indicating Tehran may be willing to address Western concerns.
But Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned that unless they lift UN sanctions the six face failure in the next round.
Diplomats from delegations at the table with Iran said it made no commitments to talking about UN Security Council demands that Tehran freeze uranium enrichment – which has both civilian and military uses.
“We didn’t get anywhere on substance,” said one of the officials. “It was an exchange of views.”
A senior US administration official, in a similarly sober assessment, said: “Our expectations for these talks were low, and they were never exceeded.”
Iran’s chief negotiator, Saed Jalili, also sought to dampen expectations.
“I am telling you clearly and openly that halting uranium enrichment will not be discussed at the Istanbul meeting,” he said.
But the diplomats said he did not object when the six powers – the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany – brought up concern over enrichment during two days of talks.
The fact that the Iranians did not dismiss such international worries led to the decision to agree to a second round.