AFP: Iran will reply “soon” to the European Union on resuming nuclear talks stalled since January, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Monday.
ISTANBUL (AFP) — Iran will reply “soon” to the European Union on resuming nuclear talks stalled since January, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Monday.
“I think the response to this letter will soon be sent by the relevant authorities in Iran to (EU foreign policy chief Catherine) Ashton,” Ahmadinejad said on the sidelines of an international development conference.
“We welcome the wish of the P5+1 Group to return to the path of negotiations once again,” he added, referring to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany.
“We have always been ready for talks, and we are ready today,” he said.
Ashton, in a letter sent in early February following the unsuccessful January talks in Istanbul, reiterated the group’s position on Iran’s contentious nuclear issue.
According to her spokesman, she also affirmed that the world powers were keen to continue talks with Iran without any preconditions.
“I hope that they have realised that negotiations … and cooperation with the Iranian nation is more for their benefit,” Ahmadinejad said.
In Brussels, the EU said Ashton had written to Iran’s chief nuclear talks negotiator, Saeed Jalili, offering a resumption of talks following the failure of a breakthrough in Istanbul.
“The terms of the letter were not made public,” said a spokeswoman for Ashton, Maja Kocijancic.
At the close of the Istanbul talks late January between Iran and the P5+1 group, Ashton told reporters that “it remains essential that Iran demonstrates that its nuclear programme is peaceful.”
“We had hoped to embark on a discussion of practical ways forward, and have made every effort to make that happen. I am disappointed to say that this has not been possible,” she added.
However, according to the Iranian leader, the nuclear issue can be solved “in an hour-long meeting.”
“If legal nuclear issues are brought up, well there is no need for 10 sessions, because regulations have cleared everything,” he said. “Based on law, it is the Iranian nation’s right to acquire the enrichment technology.”
He added: “But the reality is that other policies under the guise of the nuclear issue are put on the table. It is clear that some Western governments do not want us to develop (in the nuclear field).”
In January, Turkey hosted talks between Iran and the P5+1 aimed at allaying Western suspicions that Tehran is secretly developing nuclear weapons, but no progress was achieved.
Iran’s nuclear programme has already been the subject of six UN Security Council resolutions, four of which included a range of economic and political sanctions.
On top of those measures, the United States and the EU have imposed their own sanctions.