Israel has almost no expectations that low-level technical talks between Iran
and world powers set to begin Tuesday in Istanbul will lead to any substantial
breakthrough, government officials said Monday.
Following talks two weeks
ago that failed to produce any significant movement, the parties agreed to hold
a low-level parley of technical experts to see if there was any reason to
convene another full meeting.
Three rounds of talks this year so far – in
Istanbul, Baghdad and Moscow – have failed to get the Iranians to curb their
“Obviously we have supported the sanctions that have
been in place, and call for their expansion,” one government official said of
Tuesday’s talks. “Simultaneously we call for the international community to step
up demands on the regime, and for a total cessation of all uranium enrichment,
high and low.”
Jerusalem has been highly critical of the three rounds of
talks, saying that the world has allowed the Iranians to buy time while watering
down its demands on Tehran from a full cessation of uranium enrichment, to a
halt of all enrichment to 20 percent.
Prior to the meeting, EU foreign
policy chief Catherine Ashton, who is leading the P5+1 – the US, Russia, China,
France, Britain and Germany – in the talks, said, “We hope Iran will seize the
opportunity of this meeting to show a willingness to take concrete steps to
urgently meet the concerns of the international community, to build confidence
in the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program and to meet its international
A statement issued by the EU said the meeting is aimed at
reaching greater clarification of the proposals made to Iran in Moscow, of the
Iranian response and of issues Tehran has raised at the recent rounds of
The talks will talk place just two days after the EU clamped
an embargo on Iranian oil.