| Updated at: 1447 PST, Friday, January 21, 2011|
Iran holds nuke talks with world powers
ISTANBUL: World powers on Friday began crunch talks with Iran to resolve tensions over its controversial nuclear drive as Tehran raised its rhetoric saying it will "not retreat an inch."
The delegations met behind closed doors at Ciragan, an Ottoman palace on the banks of the Bopshorus.
EU policy chief Catherine Ashton represented the so-called P5+1 group of Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany.
The Iranian delegation was led by the country's top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili.
Russia -- which for the past decade has been building Iran's sole nuclear power plant -- has also called for discussions on lifting UN sanctions on Tehran during the two-day talks in the Turkish city of Istanbul.
Moscow and Beijing, one of Iran's big trading partners, had backed all four sets of UN sanctions against Tehran.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met separately with Ashton and Jalili Thursday evening before a dinner he hosted for the two delegations, a Turkish diplomat told.
World powers and Tehran's arch-foe Israel suspect that the Islamic republic is trying to develop atomic weapons under the guise of a civilian nuclear programme, a claim Tehran denies.
Iran is under four sets of United Nations sanctions over its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, the sensitive process which can be used to make nuclear fuel or, in highly extended form, the fissile core of an atom bomb.
A first round of talks between Iran and the world powers were held in early December in Geneva, breaking a 14-month hiatus in the negotiations.