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EU to ask Iran for firm date for nuclear talks

The European Union will urge Iran to agree on a firm date for the resumption of nuclear talks when the bloc tightens sanctions against Tehran next week, diplomats said on Tuesday.



Brussels: The European Union will urge
Iran to agree on a firm date for the resumption of nuclear
talks when the bloc tightens sanctions against Tehran next
week, diplomats said on Tuesday.

EU foreign ministers will approve a "comprehensive
and robust" sanctions on trade, financial services, transport
and the key energy sectors, according to a draft declaration
obtained by AFP ahead of the meeting.

European leaders agreed at a summit last month to
impose sanctions targeting the Iranian gas and oil sectors
following Tehran`s repeated refusal to halt its disputed
nuclear activities.

But Brussels has also urged Iran to return to the
negotiating table with the UN Security Council`s five
permanent members -- the United States, Britain, France,
Russia and China -- and Germany.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said
last week that talks could begin in September after EU foreign
affairs chief Catherine Ashton reached out to Iran`s chief
nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili in a letter in June.

The draft text for the EU foreign ministers`
meeting "calls on Iran to seize this opportunity to allay the
concerns of the international community about its nuclear
programme and agree on a concrete date for talks with the EU
High Representative, together with the six countries."

The draft must be approved by EU ambassadors at a
meeting on Thursday.

The last high-level talks between Iran and the six
world powers were held in Geneva in October 2009 when the two
sides agreed a nuclear fuel swap that has since stalled.

Western powers have demanded that Iran suspend its
uranium enrichment programme, fearing that Tehran would use
the material to build a nuclear bomb. Tehran insists that its
atomic programme is a peaceful drive to produce energy.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced on
June 28 that he was freezing nuclear talks for two months in
retaliation for a fourth set of sanctions imposed by the UN
Security Council three weeks earlier.

The United States and the EU later decided to
impose their own punitive measures against Iran, targeting the
country`s key oil and gas sectors.

US President Barack Obama signed the tough US
sanctions into law on July 1.

PTI

From Zee News

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