Diplomats from the United States and five other major world powers today started talks with Iran, in the Turkish capital of Istanbul, in a bid to defuse rising tensions between the Islamic republic and the West over Tehran's clandestine nuclear programme.
Diplomats from the United States, Russia, China, Germany, France and Britain are meeting senior Iranian officials for the first time in 15 months said initial talks were held in a "constructive atmosphere".
They expect the talks to yield at least limited progress toward defusing the nuclear crisis and lowering the risk of a new military conflict in the Middle East.
"They met in a constructive atmosphere," said Michael Mann, spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. "We had a positive feeling that they did want to engage," he added.
During the next round of talks scheduled later in the day, Western negotiators expect Tehran to present "new initiatives" to push forward negotiations.
The talks are led by the Supreme National Security Council secretary Saeed Jalili from the Iranian side and European Union foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and diplomats from the six-country bloc known as the ''P-5+1''.
The P-5+1 includes the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - United States, Britain, China, France and Russia, plus Germany.