No Reported Progress in Iran Nuclear Talks


Representatives from Iran and six world powers have ended a first meeting in Turkey to discuss Tehran’s controversial nuclear program with no reported progress.

Negotiators held a two-hour meeting in Istanbul Friday before breaking for lunch.  Reuters news agency says Iran gave no indication that it was willing to make concessions.

The talks scheduled for Friday and Saturday include the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany, a group known as the P5 + 1.  

Iranian officials said the talks started in a “positive atmosphere.”

Iranian state-run media quote a communications official attending the talks, media affairs deputy for the Secretariat of the Supreme National Council Abolfazi Zohrevand, as saying his country’s nuclear rights have “not been an issue” in the debate.

On Thursday, a U.S. State Department spokesman says the United States does not expect any “big breakthroughs” in Istanbul.  But he says U.S. negotiators were willing to discuss a nuclear fuel swap proposal updated to reflect Iran’s progress in enrichment since 2009.

Iran’s envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, said Thursday the country is ready to discuss a possible fuel swap to run its reactors.

He said world powers need to move quickly on such a deal because Tehran would have no need for the agreement once it begins putting its own (20 percent) enriched uranium into its reactors.

Under a proposal brokered last year by Brazil and Turkey, Iran would exchange low-enriched uranium for fuel specially processed to run a Tehran reactor producing medical isotopes.

World leaders are hoping to address concerns that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.

Iran is facing Western sanctions because of its nuclear program.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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The VOA is the Voice of America

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