EU: No new nuclear negotiation efforts with Iran

During visit to Turkey, Iran's FM Salehi states that talks underway to start substantive negotiations on nuke program.

By REUTERS
January 18, 2012 16:35
2 minute read.
EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton [file]

EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Danilo Krstanovic)

 
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The European Union denied Iranian comments on Wednesday that negotiations were underway between Western powers and Tehran to restart talks over the OPEC producer's nuclear program.

"There are no negotiations underway on new talks," a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said. "We are still waiting for Iran to respond to the substantive proposals the High Representative (Ashton) made in her letter from October."

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Earlier Wednesday, Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said that negotiations are already underway to hold new talks between Western powers and Iran over Tehran's nuclear program. He added that the most likely venue for the talks is Istanbul, but stated that a date had not yet been set.

"Talks are going on about venue and date. We would like to have these negotiations," Salehi told reporters during a visit to Turkey, where he is expected to meet Turkish leaders.

Salehi also said Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was in touch with the European Union's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who heads the so-called P5+1 delegation, and Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili to try to arrange a date and venue.

"My personal view is to hold this in Turkey in Istanbul. Negotiations are still going on. My colleague Davutoglu is in touch with Lady Ashton and Jalili so that the date and venue is fixed. Most probably, I am not sure yet, the venue will be Istanbul. The day is not yet settled, but it will be soon."

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Istanbul was the venue of the last talks a year ago which ended in stalemate because participants could not even agree on an agenda. Iran has since come under much tougher sanctions from the West which accuses it of seeking nuclear weapons capability.

Tehran says its nuclear program is peaceful and that it has a sovereign right to atomic technology.

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