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Iran FM says 'very optimistic' after P5+1 talks

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Iran's foreign minister said Wednesday that he was "very optimistic" about future talks with world powers about Tehran's nuclear programme after a "milestone" meeting in Kazakhstan.

"I am happy to say that the outcome of the meeting was positive, that it has been put on the right track and that it is moving in the right direction. So the process has started," Ali Akbar Salehi told reporters in Vienna.

"I am very optimistic about the outcome. Eventually the outcome will be in the benefit of the two sides. Things are taking a turning point and I think the Almaty meeting one will be (seen as) a milestone," he said.

The comments follow the first meeting in nine months between Iran and the P5+1 world powers -- the US, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany -- aimed at easing the decade-old standoff over Iran's nuclear programme.

A revised P5+1 offer put on the table reportedly involves easing sanctions on Iran's gold and precious metals trade while simultaneously lifting some restrictions on the Islamic republic's banking operations.

But they still want Iran to halt enriching uranium to 20 percent, which for the international community is the most worrisome part of Iran's activities.

No major breakthrough appeared to have been made but both sides agreed to hold an expert-level meeting in Istanbul on March 17-18 and to come together again in Almaty on April 5-6.

"The mere fact that they have decided to hold the next soon, like in a month, is indicative of the fact that they are moving in the right direction and there are positive developments. But things have to be disclosed later and not now," Salehi said.

"They are working more on the common points now. The two packages have some common points and they are working on them."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130227/iran-fm-says-very-optimistic-after-p51-talks