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Iran replies to EU on resuming nuke talks

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - 20:51

Tehran: Iran on Wednesday replied to a letter sent nearly four months ago by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton proposing a resumption of stalled talks with world powers on its nuclear programme, the official IRNA news agency reported.

The letter, written by chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili and handed to Ashton`s office, reads: "Iran welcomes the readiness of the P5+1 group to return to negotiations in order to take fundamental steps toward further cooperation."

The P5+1 consists of the five permanent UN Security Council members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- plus non-permanent member Germany.

"Iran is ready for the continuation of talks," Jalili`s letter said, adding that Iran "welcomed a recent remark by Ms Ashton that the European Union respects Iran`s right to peaceful nuclear energy."

The last talks between Iran and the P5+1 took place in Istanbul a year ago and produced no results.

Since then, tensions over Iran`s nuclear programme, particularly between Washington, the European Union and Tehran, have escalated dramatically.

Western nations, who accuse Tehran of seeking a covert nuclear weapons capability, have ramped up economic sanctions against Iran over the past three months after the UN`s International Atomic Energy Agency issued a report saying it
had evidence the Islamic republic appeared to be conducting research on atomic warheads.

Tehran insists its nuclear programme is solely for peaceful purposes.


First Published: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - 20:50

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