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EU urges resumption of talks with Iran

Source: Press TV

European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, has expressed hope for the resumption of negotiations over Iran's nuclear program, a report says.

Ashton made a reference to her correspondence with Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, and said, "Our communications continue and there's hope for the resumption of talks," Fars news agency reported on Friday.

She further stressed the need for "going back to the negotiating table at the first opportunity."

Since June, the UN Security Council, the United States and the European Union have imposed sanctions against Iran, amid US and Israeli-led allegations that Tehran is pursuing a military nuclear program.

The Islamic Republic has repeatedly denied the charge, arguing that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, it has the right to civilian nuclear energy.

Tehran says any talks on its nuclear program must focus on a May 17 nuclear fuel swap declaration it signed with Turkey and Brazil amid efforts to resolve the standoff with the West through diplomacy.

The declaration outlines Iran's readiness to swap 1,200 kg of its low-enriched uranium on Turkish soil for nuclear fuel.

Turkey: Iran entitled to have N-energy

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Iran has the right like any other country to exploit peaceful nuclear energy.

Speaking in a joint press conference with the Iranian First Vice President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi in Istanbul on Thursday, Erdogan said Turkey opposes the existence of nuclear weapons in the region but noted, "Every country has the right to use nuclear energy and Iran must be allowed to enjoy peaceful nuclear energy as well," IRNA quoted Erdogan as saying.

The Turkish premier also called for a diplomatic solution to the standoff between Iran and the West over the country's nuclear program.

He stressed that Turkey will make all efforts possible to help solve the issue.

Erdogan further lauded the relations between the Islamic Republic and Turkey and expressed his government's readiness for the expansion of ties with Iran.

"Our bilateral trade ties have reached $10 billion ... when we complete our preferential trade agreement we can reach a bilateral trade volume of $30 billion in five years," he added.

"Just as we are Iran's gate into Europe, Iran is our most important gate into Asia," he further explained.

For his part, Rahimi pointed to the "significant role" of Turkey in the region and the Islamic world and said the mutual bond between the two countries could drive foreign forces out of the region.

... Payvand News - 09/17/10 ... --

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