New talks with Iranian negotiators are unlikely to deter Tehran from plans to enrich uranium - even at the risk of accelerating efforts to have it referred to the UN Security Council, European diplomats said before the meeting.
Wednesday's talks are high level. Britain, France and Germany were sending officials who report directly to their foreign ministers, and Iran was to be represented by Javad Vaidi, who handles international affairs for the Supreme National Security Council.
But on Tuesday, some European diplomats accredited to the International Atomic Energy Agency monitoring Iran's nuclear activities described the upcoming session as "non-talks" about a "non-offer."
The choice of words not only reflected low expectations about the outcome of the meeting, but indicated that its status and focus were unclear.
The diplomats, who insisted on anonymity in exchange for discussing details of the closed-door session, said the meeting was meant to do no more than establish whether there was a point to trying to meet again with the Iranians on enrichment - a process that can create either nuclear energy or the fissile core of warheads.