Iran praises 'realistic' nuclear dialogue with world powers
By Dmitry Zaks, AFPALMATY, Kazakhstan--Iran and world powers agreed on Wednesday to hold new talks in March and April over the Islamic republic's disputed nuclear drive after negotiations concluded with Tehran hailing a “more realistic” approach to the decade-old dispute.
February 28, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
There was no sign of a major breakthrough over Iran's nuclear ambitions in the Kazakh city of Almaty but the agreement on new meetings suggested there was still potential for progress.
The talks saw the five U.N. Security Council members and Germany offer Iran a softening of non-oil or financial sector-related sanctions in exchange for concessions from Tehran over its sensitive uranium enrichment operations.
A senior U.S. official said Iran “appeared to listen carefully to the offer” and its chief negotiator Saeed Jalili issued rare praise for the world powers' “positive” and “realistic” attitude.
“Some of the points raised in their (the world powers') response were more realistic, compared to what they said in the past, Jalili told reporters after the talks.
“We consider these talks as a positive step which could be completed by taking a positive and constructive approach and taking reciprocal steps,” he said.
But he added: “We still have a long distance to cover to reach the optimal point.”
Officials said the sides would next meet at the level of senior civil servants on March 17-18 in Istanbul.
Talks involving Jalili and the six world powers represented by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton would then take place in Almaty on April 5-6.