AFP: EU chief diplomat Catherine Ashton plans to bring up the nuclear controversy with Iran in international talks in Istanbul next week despite Tehran’s refusal, her spokeswoman said Thursday.
BRUSSELS (AFP) — EU chief diplomat Catherine Ashton plans to bring up the nuclear controversy with Iran in international talks in Istanbul next week despite Tehran’s refusal, her spokeswoman said Thursday.
“We expect the nuclear dossier to be discussed but other subjects could be on the agenda,” Ashton’s spokeswoman, Maja Kocijancic, told a news briefing.
She noted that non-nuclear issues were on the agenda at the last meeting between Iran and the United States, China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany in Geneva last month.
Ashton, who represents the six powers in the nuclear talks, was in Istanbul on Thursday to meet with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in preparation of the January 21-22 meeting.
“They will discuss different topics but also Iran,” Kocijancic said.
The head of Iran’s atomic programme and acting foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, voiced on Wednesday his country’s opposition to negotiations on the nuclear issue at the meeting.
“We will absolutely not recognise the negotiation if the other side wants to negotiate on the issue of the nuclear dossier,” Salehi said in an interview with a state-run Iran newspaper.
Western powers suspect that Iran wants to use its uranium enrichment activities to build a nuclear bomb. Tehran denies the charge, insisting its programme is a peaceful effort to producing nuclear energy.