Nuclear Talks with Iran Described as 'Substantive,' 'Forward-Looking'

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2013-10_0deac0162b.jpgiStock/Thinkstock (GENEVA) -- Two days of talks in Geneva between Iran, the U.S. and five other nations regarding Tehran’s nuclear program were described Wednesday as “substantive” and “forward-looking.” The descriptions were included in a joint statement released by Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and Catherine Ashton, the foreign policy chief for the European Union.

Representatives for Iran and the so-called P5+1 group, which includes the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany, agreed to meet again in Geneva on Nov. 7 and 8.

This week’s talks were the first negotiations regarding Iran's nuclear program since the new Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, took office in August.

At a Wednesday news conference, Zarif described the Geneva meeting as being “fruitful,” and added that he hoped it would mark “the beginning of a new phase in our relationship.”

Zarif said he hoped the West would take a “balanced” approach, an apparent reference to Tehran’s demands that the international community begin easing punishing economic sanctions against his country.

Neither side provided any details about measures that may have been agreed upon, but Zarif stated that Iran planned to continue its nuclear enrichment program while trying to assuage Western concerns that Tehran is not interested in nuclear weapons capabilities.  He declined to say whether or when Iran might accept extensive monitoring of its nuclear sites.

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