30 November 2010
Iran on Tuesday agreed to take part in a new round of talks with the Group of Six Nations on its nuclear program. The talks will be held in Geneva early next week, according to a spokesman for European Union foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton, who will lead the international delegation. Tehran will be represented by its chief nuclear negotiator, Said Jalili. "We have now received a response from the Iranian authorities in which they have said that Dr. Jalili has accepted Catherine Ashton's proposal to meet in Geneva," the spokesman said. "Talks between Catherine Ashton and Dr. Jalili will now take place on Monday and Tuesday next week in Geneva."
Ashton would lead the Group of Six Nations, which comprises the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany. The talks will be the first between Iran and six world powers since October 2009. Iran is currently under four sets of UN sanctions over its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, the process which can be used to make nuclear fuel or the fissile core of an atomic bomb. Disagreement over the agenda has held up a resumption of the talks. The world powers want the talks to focus on Iran's uranium enrichment program, but Tehran wants a wider discussion that includes regional security issues.
Ashton had initially proposed Vienna as the venue for the resumed talks while Iran was in favor of the Turkish capital Ankara, a location turned down by the Western governments. A senior European official told AFP that Iran's decision to return to talks was evidence that sanctions against Tehran were effective.
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