Source: Mehr News Agency, Tehran
The 5+1 group (the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany) has recently discussed how to reply to Iran's most recent letter regarding talks about its nuclear program, the Iranian news website Irannuc.ir reported on Sunday.
On February 15, Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili sent a reply to European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton's letter dated October 2011.
Jalili's letter to Ashton, who represents the major powers in nuclear negotiations with Tehran, contains suggestions about the date, venue, and agenda of a new round of talks about Iran's nuclear program.
Irannuc.ir, quoting unidentified informed sources, wrote that Ashton and senior officials of the six major powers held a phone conversation on February 24, in which they discussed how to reply to Jalili's letter.
According to the report, there had been a consensus among the members of the group that negotiations had to start as soon as possible.
They had also agreed that International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano's latest report on Iran's nuclear program, which was issued on February 24, and the fact that no modality had been worked out during the IAEA delegations' two recent visits to Tehran should not cause a delay in starting the negotiations.
Iran rejected the requests by the IAEA delegations to inspect the Parchin site, which is located southeast of Tehran, during their visits to Iran from January 29 to 31 and February 21 to 22.
Iran's Ambassador to the IAEA Ali Asghar Soltanieh said on February 24 that a framework had to be agreed on for any access or visit.
In addition, the website wrote that there had been some differences of opinion among the group's members as to what measures should be taken if the talks fail and how much significance should be attached to the Russian proposal for a "step-by-step" plan toward Iran's nuclear program.
On July 13, 2011, Russia made a proposal for a step-by-step approach, according to which Iran could address questions about its nuclear program and be rewarded with a gradual easing of sanctions.
The Washington Post reported on February 22 that the 5+1 group had been discussing a modified version of the Russian proposal.
According to Irannuc.ir, the group will hold another phone conversation in regard to Iran's letter on February 28.
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