The Istanbul talks between Iran and six world powers seem to be heading toward stalemate. The first-day talks stretched late into the night but no visible progress emerged. Barring drastic developments later today, the chances for a compromise do not look promising.
"Iran's preconditions asking us to accept Iran having a full fuel cycle and lift sanctions upfront before any progress were summarily rejected (by all six powers)," said a Western official familiar with the talks to AFP. "Today, we'll see if they are ready to get serious." [AFP, 22 January].
On their part, the Iranians insisted that the talks could not include Iran’s basic rights of enriching uranium.
"We will absolutely not allow the talks to go into the issue of our basic rights like the issue of suspending enrichment," said Abolfazl Zohrevand, an aid to Iran’s chief negotiator [AFP, 22 January].
Saturday started with a meeting between Iran and the so-called Vienna Group, comprising France, Russia and the US. The goal was to explore if a revised nuclear fuel swap deal could be worked out. The Iranians insisted on lifting of all sanctions as a pre-condition for the start of the talks on a revised swap deal. The Vienna Group reportedly has rejected Iran’s pre-condition.