Iranian nuclear talks to be held in Istanbul Thursday

BRUSSELS - The political directors of the E3 countries -- France, Germany and the U.K. -- and their Iranian counterparts will meet in Istanbul on Thursday for a one-day meeting as part of efforts to solve the Iranian nuclear issue.

The European Union External Action Service said in a statement Wednesday that ''the meeting underlines the commitment and importance that the E3 -- France, Germany and the United Kingdom -- as well as the EU attach to making progress as soon as possible towards a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue.''

Iran and the six major powers group, P5+1, met for a round of nuclear talks on Jan.18 in Geneva to reach a permanent settlement.

The P5+1 group -- composed of five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany -- wants Iran to curb its nuclear program in exchange for lifting Western sanctions. However, Iran claims its nuclear program is used for civilian purposes.

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