MOSCOW, Russia (CBS) -- World powers began two days of talks with Iran on Monday (June 18) to try to end a decade-long stand-off over Tehran's nuclear program and avert the threat of a new war in the Middle East.
EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton and Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili met in the Russian Foreign Ministry, as the six powers - the P5+1 group of United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany - hoped to persuade Iran to curb production of high-grade uranium which they suspect is a step towards making nuclear weapons.
Iran, which denies its nuclear program has military purposes, has refused to do so until the six powers publicly acknowledge that it has the right to enrich uranium for what it says is a purely peaceful nuclear program.
Tehran also wants relief from intensifying economic sanctions. New U.S. and European Union sanctions are due to come into force in two weeks, tightening economic pressure on Iran.
Western diplomats have said a breakthrough is unlikely at the Moscow meeting, the third such round of talks since diplomacy over the issue resumed after a 15-month hiatus in April. Both sides have so far refused to move first.
The six world powers want an acknowledgement from Iran that it is willing to address their most pressing concerns and are seeking an agreement to enter into detailed negotiations on how this could be achieved.