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Jalili Says Iran Nuclear Talks To Continue

  • RFE/RL

Iran's top nuclear negotiator Said Jalili (right) with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in Istanbul on May 15.

Iran's top nuclear negotiator Said Jalili (right) with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in Istanbul on May 15.

Iran's chief negotiator in nuclear talks with major world powers says both sides have decided the talks will continue.

Said Jalili said that he had a "long and useful" discussion with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on May 15 in Istanbul and that the two sides "decided to continue working."

"We agreed to review the ideas that have been put forward and we underlined the importance of continuing our talks; talks will definitely continue," Jalili said. "We are ready to continue talks with P5+1 whenever they want to, whenever they are ready whether before or after presidential elections in Iran because these talks are national issues and beyond political factions, which all the people and political factions have supported. Therefore, we have decided to be in contact to hold talks in the near future."

Ashton also said she had a "useful" discussion with Jalili, but she made no announcement about a new round of talks.

In the negotiations, Ashton represents the five permanent UN Security Council members -- the United States, Russia, China, Britain, and France, plus Germany.

They want Iran to suspend uranium enrichment to reassure the world it is not seeking nuclear weapons.

Iran says its nuclear program is entirely peaceful and wants the powers to recognize its "right" to enrich uranium.

The Security Council has passed several resolutions urging Iran to suspend all uranium enrichment.

It has also imposed several rounds of sanctions on the Islamic republic.

The United States and the EU have imposed additional sanctions since last year, causing the Iranian economy to plummet by targeting Tehran's vital oil sector and financial system.

Jalili said the world powers were proposing a "step-by-step" approach in the nuclear talks.

But he added that Tehran wants any concessions it makes to be reciprocated by the West, particularly with regards to easing sanctions.


With reporting by AP and AFP
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