News / Middle East

EU: Iran Ready to Resume Nuclear Talks

EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton (file photo)
EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton (file photo)

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Lisa Bryant

The European Union says Iran has agreed to resume talks over its controversial nuclear program after November 10. The announcement was made by the EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on the sidelines of a key European summit.

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton spoke to reporters briefly in Brussels, where leaders from the 27-member block wrapped up a two-day summit.

"I just wanted to let you know that this morning I have had a letter delivered through the ambassador from Iran... to say that he welcomes the fact that I have been in touch with him and that he is agreeable to beginning discussions after the 10th of November and wants to agree [on] a time and a place," said Ashton.

Lacy Olson, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, speaks with VOA's Susan Yackee about the EU announcement:

Earlier this month, Ashton proposed a new round of talks with Iran on its nuclear program in Vienna. This followed reports that Iran's top nuclear negotiator was interested in meeting with Ashton on behalf of a six-nation group - the U.S., Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany.

"I think this is a very significant move and we're not in touch with Iran this morning to see if we can agree [on] the time and the place as quickly as possible," added Ashton.

Iran and the international community have been at loggerheads over Tehran's nuclear program. Negotiations have stalled since October, 2009.  Iran insists its nuclear program is for purely peaceful purposes. But many nations fear Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon.

Iran's new overture comes a day after the White House warned that Tehran's continued enrichment of uranium would mean that the international community would, in turn, be tougher in its future dealings with the Middle East nation.

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