Want nuclear talks at `earliest` opportunity: Iran
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Last Updated: Friday, February 17, 2012, 00:50
Brussels: Iran told world powers it is ready to resume stalled nuclear talks at the "earliest" opportunity as long as they respect its right to peaceful atomic energy.

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, made the offer in a letter to European Union chief diplomat Catherine Ashton, who represents the United States, France, Britain, Germany, China and Russia in the talks.

"We voice our readiness for dialogue on a spectrum of various issues which can provide ground for constructive and forward looking cooperation," Jalili wrote in the letter dated February 14.

He said Iran welcomed a statement in a letter sent by Ashton on "respecting Islamic Republic of Iran's right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy consistent with the NPT (nuclear non-proliferation treaty)."

"No doubt that by committing to this approach, our talks for cooperation based on step by step principles and reciprocity on Iran's nuclear issue could be commenced," Jalili wrote.

"Constructive and positive attitude towards Islamic Republic of Iran's new initiatives in this round of talks could open positive perspective for our negotiation," he said, without spelling out the initiatives.

"Therefore, within this context, I propose to resume our talks in order to take fundamental steps for sustainable cooperation in the earliest possibility in a mutually agreed venue and time."

Ashton had written in her letter to Jalili in October that a solution was possible only if the talks focused on addressing Western concerns over the nature of Iran's nuclear programme.

The United States and other Western powers suspect that Iran is seeking to build a nuclear bomb, but Tehran denies the charge, insisting it is merely trying to meet its energy needs.

The last round of talks collapsed in Turkey in January 2011.

Iran's tardy reply to Ashton appeared to be linked to the timing of nuclear announcements on Wednesday, which collectively suggested the country had made strides in its atomic activities despite severe Western and UN sanctions.


First Published: Thursday, February 16, 2012, 15:14

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