MOSCOW, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Iran and world powers failed to make a breakthrough at talks on Tehran's nuclear program on Tuesday, but agreed to meet again in Istanbul in July at the expert level.
Although the two sides did not ink anything on paper due to huge differences, the Moscow meeting itself could be seen as a kind of progress as it succeeded in keeping talks alive by agreeing on future meetings, local analysts say.
European Union (EU) delegation spokesman Michael Mann said Monday the EU did not expect any breakthrough at the Moscow meeting, but he changed the tone after the first day of the meeting, indicating the two-day talks may be prolonged and that it was likely that something would be "put on paper."
The change of attitude was also reflected in the Iranian delegation. At the start of the meeting, a member of the delegation, who asked not to be named, told local media that the talks could be even concluded in the first day.
However, Iranian Supreme National Security Council Secretary Saeed Jalili said Tuesday night after an additional plenary session which started at 8:00 p.m. Moscow time (1700 GMT) that the Moscow talks were "more realistic and serious" compared with the Baghdad talks last month.
The Moscow talks followed two rounds of negotiations held in Turkey's Istanbul and the Iraqi capital of Baghdad since diplomacy resumed in April after a 15-month hiatus.
During the intensive talks, Iran responded to a package of proposals from the P5+1 group comprising the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, while the P5+1 reacted to a Tehran-initiated five-point proposal, said Le Yucheng, assistant foreign minister who headed the Chinese delegation.
According to the Chinese official, experts from Iran and the P5+1 will meet in Istanbul for "more detailed discussions" over the proposals.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the P5+1 had got the "first Iranian answer" regarding the essence of its claims, and thus knew how to move further ahead and make further progress.
However, she gave no details about Iran's answer.
Analysts believed these remarks reflected the parties' willingness on further dialogue over Iran's nuclear issue.
"It is clear that Tehran is interested in reaching some kind of breakthrough, and even the West understands there is no time for more delays," Rajab Safarov, editor-in-chief of The Modern Iran magazine, told Xinhua.
The agreement to meet in Istanbul demonstrated they still believe diplomacy is the best way to settle the decade-long dispute, said analysts.
While the parties expressed political will for further talks, their huge differences were unlikely to be bridged overnight.
After the meeting, Jalili stressed that peaceful enrichment of uranium was "an unalienable right of Iran," which remains "the key element" of Iran's proposals.
He warned the EU oil embargo would hamper the nuclear talks, and that "every measure that contradicts the strategy of cooperation will not lead to success at the talks."
However, the EU sticks to its position that Iran should halt its enrichment of uranium to 20 percent purity, Mann said, stressing the EU would not revoke its oil embargo against Iran, which will take effect on July 1.
The tit-for-tat comments revealed the parties were unlikely to reach in the near future a compromise over the uranium enrichment, a technology that can be used to produce nuclear fuel or materials for bombs.
The West has long accused Iran of seeking an atomic bomb under the guise of a civilian nuclear energy program, a charge vehemently denied by Tehran.
Iran has long urged Western countries to recognize its legitimate rights to pursue "peaceful" nuclear energy, only after that could the country respond to the West's calls. The West, however, has been urging Iran to take a step first.
"Iran will unlikely fully yield to the P5+1," Safarov said.
For some Western countries, they are trying to paint Iran as a "non-agreeable partner" to justify a direct military intervention against the country or reach other coercive outcomes, Safarov warned.
"Russia and China demonstrate a rational approach to the Iran nuclear issue, while Western partners demonstrate hypocrisy, because continuation of tensions around Iran is what many Western countries secretly want," Safarov said.
Special Report: Iran Nuclear Crisis