'Ashton to agree to meeting with Iranians for Dec. 5'

Diplomat reportedly states EU foreign policy chief will propose meeting to discuss Teheran's nuclear program be held in Europe, not Turkey, despite Iran's claims that drive towards nuclear power is non-negotiable.

November 12, 2010 18:39
1 minute read.
Catherine Ashton

Catherine Ashton 311. (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)

European Union foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton intends to propose a meeting with Iran's chief nuclear energy negotiator for early December, an EU diplomat told Reuters on Friday.

Following consultations with the P5+1 powers (the United States, China, Russia,  France, the United Kingdom and Germany), the diplomat said that Ashton has decided to suggest a December 5 meeting with Iranian nuclear negotiations official Saeed Jalili, according to the Reuters report.

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Jalili had sent a letter to Ashton earlier this week to propose a meeting between the two set for either Nov. 23 or Dec. 5 in Turkey.

"Catherine Ashton is expected to respond to Iran by the end of the day and is expected to agree to Iran's proposal to meet on Dec. 5, but not in Istanbul," the official told Reuters. He added that the meeting with Jalili would take place in Europe and not Turkey, as the Iranians had originally requested.

Whether Ashton can achieve any breakthrough regarding the Teheran's drive towards nuclear energy and weapons remains in doubt.

On Wednesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that the Islamic Regime was not prepared to discuss the "nuclear issue" with world powers during a speech in the central Iranian city of Qazvin.

According to an Iranian Press TV report, Ahmadinejad told gathered supporters:

"Iran is ready to hold talks on equal conditions to help settle ongoing problems, ease international concerns and establish peace and security in the world."

He reportedly continued: "We have repeatedly said that our (nuclear) rights are not negotiable ... We only hold talks to resolve international problems ... to help the establishment of peace."

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