BAGHDAD - Talks between Iran and world powers to defuse a dispute about Iran's nuclear goals go into a second day on Thursday with Washington cautiously hopeful of progress towards an agreed framework for addressing concerns that Tehran wants to build an atom bomb.
"I believe we have the beginning of a negotiation," a senior US official said of the discussions, which opened on Wednesday in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, in a renewed effort at diplomacy that will seek to ease decades of ingrained mistrust.
The discussions, watched closely by global oil markets as well as by Iran's arch-enemy Israel, are aimed at exploring ways to settle a long-standing dispute about a nuclear energy program the West suspects is aimed at nuclear bomb research. Tehran has long stated the program is strictly for peaceful purposes.
Both sides - Iran on the one hand and the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany on the other - have been publicly upbeat about the scope for an outline deal following a 15-month diplomatic freeze and exploratory talks in Istanbul last month.