AFP: EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton has written to Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili inviting him to talks as Europe plans new sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear programme.
LUXEMBOURG (AFP) — EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton has written to Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili inviting him to talks as Europe plans new sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear programme.
“I have written to Mr Jalili… inviting him to meet with me to now discuss nuclear weapons issues and to take forward the twin-track approach,” the carrot of dialogue and the stick of sanctions, Ashton said as she arrived for talks in Luxembourg with EU foreign ministers.
Tehran has long said that it accepts in principle to hold such a meeting between Jalili and Ashton.
Ashton wrote her letter as the European Union considers going further than the new sanctions meted out on Iran by the UN Security Council, particularly in the key sector of the oil industry, with prohibition of new investment, transfers of technologies, equipment and services.
The assembled EU ministers were set to agree Monday on exactly what areas should be hit, so that EU heads of state and government can formally endorse them at a summit in Brussels on Thursday.
The details would then be decided in July.
Last Wednesday the UN Security Council slapped its fourth set of sanctions on Iran over suspicions that it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons.
Tehran insists that its nuclear programme is purely for civil energy uses.
The new UN measures authorise states to conduct high-sea inspections of vessels believed to be ferrying banned items to Iran and add 40 entities to a list of people and groups subject to travel restrictions and financial sanctions.