Catherine Ashton and Saeed Jalili each gave a press conference at the end of the meeting between Iran and the G5+1 in Istanbul on Saturday, both announcing that the next round of talks will take place in Baghdad on May 24.
Ashton acknowledged Iran’s right to exploit nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and said: “We have agreed that the Non-proliferation Treaty forms a key basis for what must be serious engagement to ensure all the obligations under the treaty are met by Iran while fully respecting Iran’s right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy.”
She described the aim of Saturday’s talks as “a sustained process of serious dialogue.”
She added: “We expect that subsequent meetings will lead to concrete steps toward a comprehensive negotiated solution which restores international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program.”
Ashton told CNN that the future talks would involve a “step-by-step approach and reciprocity” which she further clarified as taking steps to build confidence that there is going to be no military components in the Iranian nuclear program for example through allowing more access to IAEA inspector, and the world powers reciprocating these steps by rewarding Iran through lifting of sanctions.
She added: "But that needs to be very carefully thought about, and it is very important that we recognize the importance of sanctions in taking and actually getting us to today."
Saeed Jaliali, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator also said the talks had been successful.
In a separate news conference, Jalili said the talks were successful and “forward-looking.” Therefore, he concluded they could become a strong basis for further negotiations.
He also indicated that both parties had agreed that their cooperation should be based on the Non-Proliferation Treaty adding that both parties had appointed one of their delegates to come up with the draft for the next meeting in May.
Jalili went on to say that cooperation can only happen through confidence building with the people of Iran and he indicated that lifting sanctions is one of the ways to accomplish this.
Western countries have imposed widespread sanctions on Iranian financial institutions as well as its oil industry.
The last time the two sides met was over 15 months ago and unlike the current mood, the last talks in 2011 were described as "disappointing."