ISTANBUL, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- EU foreign affairs representative Catherine Ashton held talks with Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili here on Tuesday in a bid to end the standoff over the Iranian nuclear program.
The two sides had a 40-minute close-door meeting in Istanbul's Conrad Hotel Tuesday afternoon and then moved to Iranian consulate general in Istanbul for more talks during dinner.
The meeting was closed to the press while a spokeswoman for Ashton said earlier that the meeting in Istanbul was "part of continuing efforts to engage Iran."
In the Turkish capital of Ankara, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had a meeting with Jalili, who is also secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council. The two-hour meeting was also closed to the press corps.
Iran has insisted that its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes, and warned that it will retaliate if it comes under attack.
Talks in June between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) ended without a breakthrough. The P5+1 are expected to discuss with Tehran on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York later this month.