EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton speaks during a news conference after discussions with the Iranian delegation in Moscow, on Tuesday, June 19, 2012.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has reaffirmed that the six major world powers remain unified in their bid to find a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue.
As in Istanbul and Baghdad, "the E3+3" (P5+1) remain absolutely unified in seeking a swift diplomatic resolution to Iran's nuclear issue based on the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Ashton told reporters late Tuesday after two days of negotiations between Tehran and the six countries in the Russian capital, Moscow.
Ashton added that there were “significant gaps” between the ideas of the two positions, saying that the two sides, therefore, agreed to hold a follow-on technical level meeting in Istanbul on July 3 “to provide further clarification about the E3+3 proposal, increase the E3+3 understanding of the Iranian’s response and study the issues raised by Iran during the sessions."
Iran and the P5+1 group - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany - wrapped up two days of talks in Moscow on Tuesday.
The Iranian negotiating delegation was led by Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Saeed Jalili, and the P5+1 group was headed by Ashton.
Jalili said at a press conference at the end of the negotiations that the most important agreement made during the Moscow talks was the acceptance of Iran's view that an expert level meeting should be held, and added, “We welcome the fact that the other side has come to agree with us although it took them long.”
At the heart of the negotiations was Iran’s nuclear energy program. Jalili said the Iranian side reiterated its inalienable right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes during the negotiations.
The Moscow meeting came after two days of negotiations in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, in May.
Tehran and the P5+1 had also held three rounds of talks, one in Geneva, Switzerland, in December 2010, and two in Istanbul, Turkey, in January 2011 and in April 2012.