Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani and European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana started talks on the Iranian nuclear issue Wednesday night.
The outcome of the meeting would determine whether there was a basis to return to the negotiating table on the issue, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters after the start of the talks.
Steinmeier said he would not be involved in the talks himself and the discussions could last late in the night.
"This meeting forms part of our effort to find a diplomatic solution in the conflict over Iran's nuclear program," said German Foreign Office spokesman Martin Jaeger earlier in the day.
The talks between the two have been regarded as a last chance for Iran to agree to a suspension of uranium enrichment activities.
Failure of the talks may put Iran facing sanctions in the UN Security Council. The five permanent council members plus Germany urged Iran to accept a package of incentives for halting enrichment activities.
However, the demand was rejected by Iran. In Tehran, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a seminar on Wednesday that Iran would "not backdown" on its nuclear rights.
"They want to use suspension (as a measure) for propaganda, then tell the whole world that Iran was forced by them to accept suspension," the president was quoted as saying.
"They are making a mistake and the Iranian nation will not backdown on its rights," he asserted.
(Xinhua News Agency September 28, 2006)