EU ready to resume talks with Iran on nuclear dispute

EU foreign affairs chief has told Iran she was ready to resume nuclear talks.

Brussels: EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton has told Iran she was ready to resume nuclear talks and suggested that the two sides pick a time and date to meet, according to a letter released on Wednesday.

"I am glad to hear that you would be prepared to restart dialogue," Ashton wrote in a letter to Iran`s chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, dated July 08.

Ashton, who represents six world powers in the negotiations, said "issues relating to the Iranian nuclear programme must be the focus of our talks, though other subjects ... could also be raised."

She suggested that the two sides "should discuss the time and venue for our meeting."

Ashton`s spokesman said the European Union`s high representative hopes the talks can restart "as soon as possible, potentially in the autumn”.

The EU`s chief diplomat had written to Jalili in mid-June to request a resumption of negotiations with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany after the UN imposed new sanctions on Iran.

The Iranian official wrote back that Tehran was ready to resume talks from September 01 should a number of conditions be met.

Jalili said the six -- the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany -- must answer whether the talks are aimed at "engagement and cooperation or continued confrontation and hostility towards Iranians”.