Reuters: The European Union has told Iran in a letter that it welcomes a proposal to resume dialogue as early as September but says talks must focus on Tehran’s nuclear programme.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union has told Iran in a letter that it welcomes a proposal to resume dialogue as early as September but says talks must focus on Tehran’s nuclear programme.
The letter, seen by Reuters, was sent by EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton in response to a letter on July 6 from Saeed Jalili, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, calling for a resumption of talks.
His proposal was the first clear indication that Tehran is willing to engage with world powers on its atomic programme since the United Nations imposed more sanctions on Iran last month, a move designed to stall Iranian uranium enrichment.
“I am glad to hear that you would be prepared to restart dialogue,” Ashton wrote to Jalili. “It follows that issues relating to the Iranian nuclear programme must be the focus of our talks, though other subjects … could also be raised.”
She proposed EU and Iranian officials should discuss a time and venue for a meeting.
A spokesperson for Ashton confirmed the EU had replied to Jalili in a letter that was delivered on Tuesday.
The West believes Iran wants to produce nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear programme is solely for peaceful purposes, including domestic energy production.
Tehran has held no substantive talks with the West since October, when it backed away from a deal to send some of its low-enriched uranium abroad in exchange for the higher-enriched material it needs to fuel a medical research reactor. (Writing by Timothy Heritage, editing by David Brunnstrom)