MOSCOW - World powers will meet Iranian top representatives to discuss the Islamic state's disputed nuclear program in Istanbul at the end of January, a Russian official says.
Iran and the so-called "P5+1" nations — the five permanent UN Security Council members along with Germany — have not all met since a June session in Moscow, but an unnamed Russian source told the state RIA Novosti agency that the next meeting has been provisionally scheduled for the end of the month in Istanbul — host of the first such talks last April.
The source did not name a specific date or say when one might be announced.
However, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov — Russia's pointman at the talks and most senior Iran expert — expressed frustration that an exact date had not been fixed.
"We have had situations in the past when we had trouble agreeing a time and place, and we have one now today," Interfax quoted Ryabkov as saying yesterday.
He said Moscow wanted to see the momentum of talks continue "without significant delays".
Ryabkov gave no indication whether it was Iran or Catherine Ashton — the EU foreign affairs chief and main Western representative at the negotiations — who had the most serious reservations about new talks.
Three prior "P5+1" meetings have been held with Iran at the most senior level envisioned for the Istanbul session.