EU official says Iran could reply to negotiations call soon

There are signs Iran could reply in the next two months to a formal request for negotiations over its nuclear programme, a senior EU official said.

EU official says Iran could reply to negotiations call soon

 

There are signs Iran could reply in the next two months to a formal request for negotiations over its nuclear programme, a senior EU official said on Friday after talks among major world powers.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said hints and suggestions, including from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, indicated that Iran could reply to a written request or propose talks of its own sometime in late August or September.

"We've had these indications from the Iranians talking about late August or early September," the official told reporters.

"Sometimes it seems to suggest a reply to our request at that time, and sometimes it seems to suggest a meeting. We look forward to both a reply and a meeting.

"I hope it will come soon."

The official was speaking after senior diplomats from the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China met in Brussels to discuss progress on a fourth round of sanctions imposed by the United Nations against Iran last month.

The six countries, often referred to as the EU3+3, are hoping the sanctions will urge Iran to return to negotiations over its nuclear programme, which Iran says is for peaceful purposes such as generating civilian electricity.

Catherine Ashton, the European Union's foreign affairs chief, who joined the talks in Brussels on Friday, wrote to Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili last month inviting him to resume negotiations over Tehran's nuclear programme.

Ashton, who wrote with the backing of the EU3+3, has not received a reply, but Iran's foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, did send a letter to EU foreign ministers this week, one sharply critical of extra EU sanctions on Iran.

Asked if the EU3+3 would be willing to hold talks with anyone other than Jalili if Iran offered, the EU official indicated Jalili was the only credible intermediary.

"Jalili is the correct address for the talks," he said. "It appears to us that he speaks for the Iranian state."

The official acknowledged that the new sanctions regime on Iran, which includes not only U.N. measures but extra U.S. and EU restrictions, was not going to work on its own to stop Iran's nuclear enrichment programme.

"We don't believe that sanctions are going to solve the problem on their own, but equally we don't think that just doing nothing is going to solve the problem either," he said.

The objective now was to resume talking to Iran as soon as possible, he said.

Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 03 Temmuz 2010, 10:04
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