GENEVA — Iran agreed Tuesday to another international meeting next month on its nuclear program, though it appeared that two days of talks in Geneva had made little progress in the seven-year push for it to guarantee that it isn't seeking to build a nuclear weapon.
European Union foreign-policy chief Catherine Ashton characterized the talks between Iran and the sextet of Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States as "substantive" and "detailed" and said January's meeting would be a search for "practical ideas and ways of cooperating towards resolution of our core concerns about the nuclear issue."
But Iran's negotiator, Saeed Jalili, offered a different interpretation, calling Ashton's comments "disrespectful" and saying that the meeting next month in Istanbul, Turkey, would be devoted only to "cooperation to find common ground."
"I am announcing openly and clearly that Iran will not discuss a uranium enrichment halt in the next meeting in Istanbul with major powers," Jalili said.
His position was echoed in Iran, where the website of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting said President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had called on the international community "to amend their wrong policies on Iran's peaceful nuclear program."
Still, Western officials said the primary goal of the Geneva meeting, resuming negotiations that broke off 14 months ago, had been achieved.
At their last meeting, in October 2009, the six world powers and Iran agreed that Iran would ship most of its enriched uranium to Russia in exchange for fuel for a research reactor.
The plan foundered within weeks, however, as Iran objected to the timing of the exchange.
Iran claims that its nuclear program is a peaceful effort to generate electricity and that its right to such a program under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty isn't debatable.
The United States leads the international community in charging that Iran wants to build the capacity to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.