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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran ready to start nuclear talks: Turkey's FM

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Ankara, Jan 19, IRNA -- Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu Wednesday said both the European Union and Iran have expressed their readiness to resume talks on the nuclear issue.

Speaking at a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Brussels this evening, the Turkish minster said he had contacts recently with Iranian officials and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and that 'both sides declared the intention to meet and restart the negotiations.'

'Of course, it is up to both sides to decide but as far as Turkey is concerend, we will be happy to host this new round of talks,' he said.

Tomorrow (on Thursday), Davutolgou said, 'I will be meting with my Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi in Ankara to discuss this issue.'

'We hope these negotiations will create positive result and an important international concern will be thoroughly resolved,' he added.

The last nuclear talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the US, the UK, France, Russia and China, together with Germany was held in Istanbul about a year ago, but no progress was made.

According to Iranian sources, Iran’s top negotiator Saeed Jalili has told EU in his response letter to EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton that Tehran is ready to hold fresh nuclear talks, but would not back down on its “rights” in the talks with the West. The letter, dated September 6 added: “The Islamic Republic of Iran believes that just negotiation and talk is the only way to remove existing misunderstandings in all areas.”

Jalili spoke of the “necessity of achieving a comprehensive, long-term and negotiated solution for both sides.” But he also said any “measures that would lead to deprivation” of the rights of states, “including the noble nation of Iran, is unacceptable.” In a letter to Iran in July, Ashton announced the world powers' willingness to continue talks with Iran on its peaceful nuclear program.

Washington and its Western allies accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian nuclear program, while they have never presented any corroborative evidence to substantiate their allegations. Iran denies the charges and insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

Tehran stresses that the country has always pursued a civilian path to provide power to the growing number of Iranian population, whose fossil fuel would eventually run dry.

Despite the rules enshrined in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) entitling every member state, including Iran, to the right of uranium enrichment, Tehran is now under four rounds of UN Security Council sanctions for turning down West's calls to give up its right of uranium enrichment.

Tehran has dismissed the West's demands as politically tainted and illogical, stressing those sanctions and pressures merely consolidate Iranians’ national resolve to continue the path.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30772308

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