2030 GMT: Fraud Watch. Next week's Moscow talks on Iran's nuclear programme will proceed after European Union foreign policy representative Catherine Ashton and top Iranian negotiator Saeed Jalili spoke for one hour on the phone tonight.
There was chatter that the discussions were in jeopardy after days of increasingly negative exchanges in the media between the two sides, but a Western diplomat said, “Moscow is a green light."
A European diplomat maintained that the US and Europe had held the line on no preparatory talks before Moscow, unless Iran discussed issues of political substance: “Jalili went on and on about need for a technical meeting. Ashton stayed firm.” He continued:
[The Iranians] have now backed down from that and appear prepared to engage on our proposals, which is important for us. We will respond to their ideas --- note the different terminology. We have concrete proposals, they have issues/ideas.
A spokesman for Ashton set out the apparent deal: Ashton and Jalili “agreed on the need for Iran to engage on the E3+3 proposals", while Ashton "conveyed the E3+3′s readiness to respond to the issues raised by the Iranians in Baghdad".