Iran negotiator offers fresh nuclear talks with EU

Saeed Jalili writes to Ashton to announce the Islamic state's readiness for talks with major powers "to reach bilateral agreements."

By REUTERS
September 11, 2011 21:43
1 minute read.
Saeed Jalili

Saeed Jalili. (photo credit: REUTERS)

TEHRAN  - Iran's nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili has written to the European Union foreign affairs chief to announce the Islamic state's readiness for fresh nuclear talks with major powers, the foreign minister said on Sunday.

"A few days ago, Mr. Jalili's letter was sent to Ms. Catherine Ashton ... saying Iran is prepared for talks ... to reach bilateral agreements," Ali Akbar Salehi said in a news conference, when asked about Iran's nuclear work.

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"We have received the letter, and we will study it carefully," a spokesman for Ashton said on Sunday.

Iran's nuclear talks with major powers in January failed after the Islamic state refused to halt its uranium enrichment, as demanded by the United Nations Security Council.

The United States and its European allies fear Iran is trying to build atomic bombs under cover of its nuclear program. Tehran denies it, saying it needs nuclear technology to generate electricity.

After talks with his European Union counterpart in Geneva in February, Salehi hoped there would be further meetings, but no date was set.

In May, the EU rejected a similar letter from Tehran requesting nuclear talks, saying it contained nothing new that would justify a further round of meetings.

Iran has been hit by international sanctions for refusing to halt its sensitive nuclear activities, which it says is only aimed at generating electricity.

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