46 mins ago
ISTANBUL Six world powers will try to persuade Iran to rein in its nuclear program at talks on Friday, with little expectation of a major breakthrough but hope they can at least agree on a process that will bring more talks.
Western countries believe Iran is working to develop a nuclear bomb. Tehran says its nuclear program is peaceful. Friday's talks in Istanbul are a follow-up to talks last month in Geneva, which were the first held in more than a year.
Iran's nuclear standoff with the West has escalated in the past year, with the United Nations imposing new sanctions and Western states rejecting a revised proposal for Iran to swap some of its fuel abroad as too little, too late.
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton heads the delegations representing six big powers -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States. They will meet with Iran's nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili.
"We're not expecting any big breakthroughs but we want to see a constructive process emerge that ... leads to Iran engaging with the international community in a credible process and addressing the international community's concerns about its nuclear program," U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said on Thursday.
The West says Iran has failed to comply with UN resolutions demanding it curb enrichment and grant unfettered access to its nuclear sites. The prospect of an Iranian nuclear weapon feeds fears of a Middle East conflict should the United States or Israel opt to attack it.
A spokesman with a delegation led by Under-Secretary for Political Affairs William Burns in Istanbul said Washington was using a dual track approach of diplomacy and pressure.
"The onus is on Iran to take concrete and convincing steps," Mike Hammer, National Security Council spokesman, said.
Bruno Tertrais, an Iran expert at the Paris-based Foundation for Strategic Research, said the best that should be hoped for from the Istanbul meeting was an agenda for future talks, which would require a positive gesture from the Iranian side.