Ashton: Nuclear talks with Iran could resume soon

October 21, 2011 19:49

Major powers are willing to meet within weeks if Tehran is prepared to "engage seriously in meaningful talks," EU foreign policy chief says.

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Natanz nuclear facility, 300 km south of Tehran.

Natanz nuclear facility_311 reuters. (photo credit:STR New / Reuters)

VIENNA - Major powers are willing to meet with Iran within weeks if Tehran is prepared to "engage seriously in meaningful discussions" on its disputed nuclear program, the European Union's foreign policy chief said in a letter to Tehran on Friday.

"When moving to continuation of our talks, it is crucial to look for concrete results," Catherine Ashton said in the letter addressed to Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili.

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"We have to ensure that when we meet again we can make real progress on the nuclear issue so that both sides can draw concrete benefits," said the letter, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters.

Ashton has been handling contacts with Iran on behalf of six powers, which include the United States, Britain, France and Germany as well as non-Western states Russia and China.

In September Jalili sent a letter to Ashton saying that Iran was ready to hold fresh talks "for cooperation on common issues." In the letter, he also made it clear that Tehran has no intention of backing down on its "rights" in the nuclear row with the West.

Jalili spoke of the "necessity of achieving a comprehensive, long-term and negotiated solution for both sides."

But he also stated that any "measures that would lead to the deprivation" of countries' rights under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty "including the noble nation of Iran is unacceptable."

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