WASHINGTON, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he was looking for progress during upcoming P5+1 talks in Kazakhstan on Iran's nuclear program.
Kerry met in Washington with his European foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. He said he looked forward to Ashton's "critical effort" to avoid any sort of confrontation over Iran's nuclear program.
"We hope that the talks in Almaty in a few days can show some further progress, perhaps open some additional opportunities," he said during a news conference.
Ashton's office in early February said Kazakhstan agreed to host talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany, which Europe refers to as the E3+3.
"I will go to Almaty to lead the discussions with Iran," Ashton said. "I always look for success in those (negotiations)."
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told The Washington Post negotiations with Iran were more pressing following the North Korean nuclear test this week.
"We should not give much more time to the Iranians, and we should not waste time," Ban said. "We have seen what happened with the (North Koreans)."
Iran is suspected of pursuing the technology needed to produce a nuclear weapon, an allegation it denies.
Talks in Kazakhstan are scheduled for Feb. 26.