Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ashton meet in Istanbul
Iran's Supreme National Security Council Secretary and chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili met with European Union foreign policy Chief Catherine Ashton over dinner in Istanbul on Friday night, IRNA reported.
Formal talks between Iranian chief nuclear negotiator and European Union foreign policy Chief will get under way on Saturday around 0700 GMT.
According to both official and non-official reports, both sides signaled in the run-up to Saturday's talks that they intended to give diplomacy a real chance.
'We hope that this first round will produce a conducive environment for concrete results through a sustained process,' Ashton's spokesman, Michael Mann, said.
Negotiation and cooperation can resolute Iran's nuclear issue, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ramin Mehmanparast said on Friday.
"An atmosphere of pressure and threat in previous Iran-G5+1 nuclear talks caused their defeat in the past; Tehran defends its rights and would not accept any illogical pressure from other sides.'
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov stressed on diplomatic resolution of Iran's nuclear issue at a joint media interaction after their meeting on Friday.
Lavrov noted that all three countries of China, India and Russia have consensus on diplomatic resolution of Iran's nuclear issue.
Additionally, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in a meeting with Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili discussed latest bilateral and international affairs.
In the meantime, Ali Bagheri, deputy secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council in Istanbul on Friday conferred with Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister, Ma Ja Osho.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said also on Friday that Moscow is optimistic about the outcome of the upcoming Iran-G5+1 talks.
Chinese news outlets quoted the visiting head of China's nuclear delegation to Istanbul Ma Ja Osho that 'Progress in Iran-G5+1 nuclear talks plays an important role in the establishment of peace and security in region.'
The official asserted that China supports Iran's peaceful nuclear program.
Iranian delegation headed by Supreme National Security Council Secretary and chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, arrived in Istanbul on Friday morning.
Iran and the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) agreed to resume talks in Istanbul, Turkey, on April 14 and a second round in the Iraqi capital city, Baghdad.
The last meeting between the two sides took place in Istanbul in January 2011. Iran and the G5+1 had also held two rounds of multifaceted talks in Geneva in December 2010.
Washington and its Western allies accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian nuclear program. Iran denies the charges and insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.