EU, Iran nuclear negotiators Ashton, Jalili to meet in Turkey

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European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will meet Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili for dinner in Turkey Tuesday night, European Union diplomatic sources confirmed to Al-Monitor Monday.

It will be the first face to face meeting between the chief international and Iranian nuclear negotiators since June.

The informal meeting “is part of continuing efforts to engage with Iran, led by the High Rep, and in line with the understandings reached at the negotiating round in Moscow in June,” a European diplomat told Al-Monitor Monday.

“While it is not a formal negotiating round, the meeting will be an opportunity to stress once again to Iran the need for an urgent and meaningful confidence building step and to show more flexibility with the proposals the E3+3 tabled in Baghdad,” a spokesperson for Ashton said.

Jalili arrived in Ankara for meetings with Turkish leaders Monday ahead of the Ashton dinner, Iran’s Fars News Agency reported Monday.

Western and Iranian analysts alike expressed low expectations for the outcome of the meeting, except to maintain a level of engagement.

“Considering the current circumstances, [the] dinner is just to give public CPR to the talks so they will be alive through November,” Iran analyst Mohammad Ali Shabani told Al-Monitor Monday.

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