European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton says the latest round of nuclear talks between Iran and world powers has been “constructive” and the two sides agreed to meet again in Iraq.
Ashton said the next talks would take place in Baghdad on May 23. She commented after Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany wrapped up sessions in Turkey on Saturday.
The meetings marked the first direct talks on Iran's controversial nuclear program in over a year. The Reuters news agency reports Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, said there were some differences of opinion in the talks but also agreement on important issues.
A VOA correspondent in Turkey says Iran also had bilateral talks with China, Russia and Turkey, but turned down a meeting with the United States.
Despite that snub, he adds that some western powers believe Iran has shown more of a willingness to discuss nuclear issues than it did at last year's talks.
“They are saying that Iranians are sort of engaging with them and this is what we didn't have back in 2011 when they first met in Istanbul.”
Saturday's meetings came at a time of increased tensions between Iran and many Western powers over the nature of Tehran's nuclear program.
Iran says its nuclear ambitions are peaceful. However, the U.N., EU, and world powers including the United States have imposed successive rounds of sanctions on Iran because of concerns that it is trying to develop nuclear weapons.
Iran Chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili and other diplomats arriving at venue in Istanbul.