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Iranian FM says Iran optimistic about IAEA visit to Tehran

Source: Mehr News Agency

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, Jan. 29 (Mehr News Agency) - Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi announced on Sunday that Tehran is optimistic about the result of negotiations with the IAEA delegation who arrived in Tehran late on Saturday.

"A high-level delegation of the International Atomic Energy Agency arrived in Iran and necessary preparations have been made, (and) we are very optimistic about the mission and result of the work of this delegation," Salehi told reporters upon his arrival in Addis Ababa on Sunday.

The delegation, headed by Herman Nackaerts, the IAEA deputy director and the head of the IAEA Department of Safeguards, is scheduled to hold talks with Iranian officials on the issues of concern to the UN nuclear watchdog during their three-day visit to Iran.

"The nuclear issue has taken the right course and our interaction with the agency has been good, and the cooperation has been close and extensive," Salehi said.

"We have always tried to adopt transparency as one of our principles of cooperation with the agency, and during their visit, the agency's delegation will have some questions that will be answered appropriately," he added.

On a new round of talks between Tehran and the 5+1 group (the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany), which is likely to be held in Turkey in the near future, Salehi said that Iran has already expressed its readiness for holding negotiations with the six major powers.

He also said that Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili will respond to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton's most recent letter and suggest a date and venue for a new round of talks.

According to Reuters, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who represents the 5+1 group, issued a statement on January 20 making clear that a diplomatic path remained open to Iran despite tougher sanctions.

The 5+1 group "has always been clear about the validity of the dual track approach," Ashton's spokesperson said in a statement that included her October 21 letter to the Iranians laying out the possibility of talks. "We are waiting for the Iranian reaction."

The Iranian foreign minister also predicted that the next round talks between Iran and the major powers would be successful.

"I think that talks with the 5+1 group will be successful this time because it seems that the other side is also willing to find a way out," he added.

Pointing to the Russian proposal for a "step-by-step" plan toward Iran's nuclear program, Salehi said the fact that Russia has more seriously addressed Iran's nuclear issue shows that things are heading in the rights direction.

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.

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