So today in rainy Istanbul ("cats and dogs doesn't begin to describe it" says my colleague @fgeerdink), traffic is no doubt snarled because US. and Iranian officials are facing off here to negotiate the future of Iran's nuclear program. So far, so sort-of good. Iran’s chief negotiator Jalili arrived in Turkey with a new title: 'Personal representative of the Supreme Leader.'” Diplomats have been giving the tone of the meeting glowing reviews:
The atmosphere at the opening session of Saturday's nuclear talks between six world powers and Iran was "completely different" from that of previous meetings, a diplomat said, describing it as "a good morning".
The diplomat, who spoke during the lunch break about the first meeting between Iran and the world powers in 15 months, said Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili had not stated the kind of preconditions that he had done in the last meeting in early 2011, when the two sides failed to agree even an agenda.
"He seems to have come with an objective to get into a process which is a serious process, which is about what we want to talk about," said the envoy, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "I would say it has been a useful morning's work."
The diplomat suggested the Iranian side had signalled a readiness to enter a serious engagement on the dispute over its nuclear programme and that this could pave the way for a second meeting.
The EU spokesperson described a "surprisingly warm" atmosphere after Ashton & Jalili shared a three-hour dinner, accourding to Wall Street Journal correspondent Joe Parkinson.
The Russians seemed to like them, too:
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who is leading Moscow's delegation at nuclear talks between six world powers and Iran on Saturday, said the atmosphere between the two sides was constructive and that things were "going well".
"The atmosphere is constructive, the conversation is business-like. As of the moment, things are going well," Interfax quoted Ryabkov as saying in Istanbul, where the talks were being held.
Reuters reported that Jalili had accepted the US envoy's request for bilateral meeting; then Iran's Fars News Agency quoted "informed source" as denying this.
Well, we'll see.