By Jeremy Herb
Nuclear negotiations between Iran and six world powers were making some progress Saturday morning as talks got underway, according to reports citing diplomats in attendance.
An unnamed diplomat in Istanbul told the Associated Press the talks so far were “constructive,” as Iran was willing to at least discuss its nuclear program and enrichment.
"I would say there was a very constructive atmosphere compared to last time … generally a positive vibe," he said. "The principle seems to be there for future negotiations."
The first round of negotiations in Istanbul between Iran and the P5+1 group — the five permanent UN Security Council nations plus Germany — was not intended to reach any major breakthroughs, but as a way to lay the groundwork for finding an eventual diplomatic resolution to Iran's nuclear program.
Diplomats said before the meeting that Iranian readiness to discuss its enrichment program would be considered a large enough success to hold a second round of talks, according to the AP.
European Union Policy Chief Catherine Ashton, who is leading the negotiations for the P5+1 group, said ahead of the meeting that she hoped the talks would be “the beginnings of a sustained process.”
“What we are here to do is to find ways in which we can build confidence between us and ways in which we can demonstrate that Iran is moving away from a nuclear weapons program,” Ashton said in a statement before the negotiations began.
Iran insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only, and that it has no desire to produce nuclear weapons. But the West suspects Iran is seeking a nuclear arsenal, and the United States and European Union have enacted economic sanctions to dissuade Tehran.