Sunday Mar 24, 201304:06 PM GMT
Russia lauds progress in P5+1-Iran expert-level talks in Istanbul
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has expressed Russia’s content over the latest round of expert-level talks between Iran and the six major world powers in the Turkish city of Istanbul.

“We believe there’s been a certain progress following the expert panel in Istanbul,” Ryabkov said at a press briefing in Moscow on Thursday.

He added, “It is tangible but not sufficient to call it a breakthrough.”

“The dynamics of these talks suggest that this progress can still be reversed. We find it a bit unsettling, although the discussion has taken on a more serious, deep and businesslike approach after the string of negotiations,” the Russian diplomat noted.

Iran and the P5+1 group -- China, Russia, France, Britain and the US plus Germany -- held their latest round of expert-level negotiations in Istanbul on March 17-18.

Iran and the P5+1 agreed to hold the expert-level meeting during their previous negotiations in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on February 26-27. The two sides agreed to convene again in Istanbul on April 5-6 to continue the negotiations.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council said during their meeting in Istanbul, the Iranian and P5+1 experts discussed various aspects of the proposals put forward by both sides.

According to the statement, the discussions revolved around proposals presented by Iran during the meeting in Moscow in June 2012, and offers given by the P5+1.

Michael Mann, a spokesman for European Union (EU) foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, also said in a statement on Tuesday that the meeting provided an opportunity for experts of both Iran and the P5+1 group to explore each other's positions on a number of technical subjects.

The United States, Israel and some of their allies have repeatedly accused Iran of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.

Iran has categorically rejected the allegation, arguing that as a committed signatory to NPT and an IAEA member, it is entitled to acquire and develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

In addition, the IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence showing that the Iranian nuclear program has been diverted toward military objectives.

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