EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton says Iran and the six major world powers have held substantial talks at the UN, setting the stage for a new round of negotiations next month to resolve the West’s dispute with Tehran over its nuclear energy program.
Ashton made the remarks on Thursday during a news conference after the foreign ministers of Iran and the P5+1 group — Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States, plus Germany — held unprecedented talks at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
“It was a substantial meeting, good atmosphere, energetic. We had a discussion about how we would forward with an ambitious timeframe to see if we could make progress quickly,” Ashton said, appreciating Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for talking so “openly.”
“We have agreed to meet in Geneva on the 15 and 16 of October to pursue the agenda, to carry on from today’s meeting and to hopefully move this process forward,” Ashton stated.
“We want to spend our time in Geneva translating that into the practical details,” she said, adding, “I am very ambitious for what we can do, but we all know we have to be very practical.”
The EU foreign policy chief also said that Iran could either respond to the proposals of the P5+1 group or offer its own before next month’s talks.
After the meeting, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said, “The tone and spirit of the meeting we’ve had has been very good, and indeed a big improvement on the tone and spirit of previous meetings on this issue and I pay tribute to minister Zarif for that.”
“We’ve all established good working relations with him during this week in New York and this meeting was a reflection of that. We have all talked about the importance of reaching a peaceful and negotiated solution on this issue, and our commitment to seek to do that.”
Iran and the P5+1 have held several rounds of talks on a range of issues, with the main focus being on Tehran’s nuclear energy program.
The two sides wrapped up their latest round of negotiations in April in the Kazakh city of Almaty. An earlier meeting was held in Almaty in February.
The United States, Israel, and some of their allies have repeatedly accused Iran of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program and have used the unfounded accusation as a pretext to impose illegal sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Iran rejects the allegations, arguing that as a committed signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
In addition, the IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence showing that Iran’s civilian nuclear program has been diverted to nuclear weapons production.
On August 6, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called for “serious talks with foreign parties” on the nuclear issue.
The Iranian president, who took office on August 4, promised that the Islamic Republic is closely monitoring all measures taken by the US and would respond properly to Washington’s “practical and constructive” moves.
Rohani also voiced readiness to hold talks with any country within the framework of the Islamic Republic’s national interests.
By Press TV
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