Iran’s Jalili to meet EU’s Ashton

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast says Tehran has accepted EU foreign policy Chief Catherin Ashton’s request for nuclear talks.

Ashton voiced readiness to hold direct talks with Iran on Monday but warned Tehran that UN sanctions over Iranian nuclear program could be adopted “very rapidly.”

“Ashton expressed desire to negotiate with Iranian officials on several occasions… the Islamic Republic of Iran agreed to a meeting between Ms. Ashton and Mr. Saeed Jalili, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council. This meeting will take place,” Mehmanparast said.

He went on to say that Iran had accepted Turkey as the location for the talks, adding, however, that a time for the meeting had not been set yet.

“As Ashton has requested the meeting we must wait and see which topics she would like to broach.”

Mehmanparast said that if the EU foreign policy chief wanted to discuss Iran’s nuclear program, this issue was a matter for discussion with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The US and its European allies have stepped up efforts to pass a fourth round of UN Security Council sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, which they claim is aimed at developing nuclear weapons.

Iran has repeatedly rejected the accusations, saying that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the IAEA it is entitled to the use of peaceful nuclear energy.

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