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EU's Ashton writes to Tehran: Nuclear talks could resume soon

Source: Mehr News Agency, Tehran

In a letter to Iran on Friday, Catherine Ashton, the European Union's foreign policy chief, announced that the 5+1 group is willing to resume talks with Iran within weeks if Tehran is prepared to "engage seriously in meaningful discussions".

The letter came after Saeed Jalili, Iran's Supreme National Security Council secretary and chief nuclear negotiator, wrote a letter last month to Ashton announcing Iran's readiness to resume talks.

Ashton has been leading efforts on behalf of the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany) to negotiate with Tehran over its atomic activities.

Iran has said it is willing to resume discussions, but insists that other countries recognize its right to enrich uranium.

If Iran is ready to discuss concrete confidence-building measures without pre-conditions, "we would be willing to agree on a next meeting within the coming weeks at a mutually convenient venue," Ashton said.

"I welcome your suggestion to resume talks, in order to take fundamental steps for sustainable co-operation," she said in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters.

The main bone of contention between Iran and the West is Tehran's nuclear enrichment activities. As a signatory to the NPT, Iran is legally authorized to produce nuclear fuel for civilian purposes.

Ashton said the goal "remains a comprehensive negotiated, long-term solution which restores international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature" of Iran's nuclear program.

"In order to start such a process, our initial objective is to engage in a confidence-building exercise aimed at facilitating a constructive dialogue on the basis of reciprocity and a step-by-step approach," the letter added.

... Payvand News - 10/22/11 ... --

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