BRUSSELS European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will meet Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili in Istanbul on May 15, her spokesman said on Thursday, to discuss future diplomatic efforts to resolve a decade-old dispute over Tehran's atom work.
The meeting will follow a round of negotiations held in Kazakh city of Almaty in April between Iran and six world powers, which failed to produce a breakthrough.
Ashton represents the six nations - the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany - in talks with Iran on its controversial atom program.
Western diplomats say discussions between Ashton and Jalili will be crucial in deciding whether and when a new round of negotiations between the six powers and Iran can take place.
The U.N. nuclear watchdog and Iran are also due to hold separate talks in Vienna on May 15. The International Atomic Energy Agency has tried for more than a year to coax Tehran to allow its inspectors to resume a long-stalled investigation into suspected atom bomb research by the Islamic state.
Iran rejects international suspicions that its atom work has a covert military dimension and says it needs nuclear power for energy generation and medical purposes.
(Reporting by Justyna Pawlak, Editing by Adrian Croft)