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West urged to use Iran opportunity

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has called on the US and its allies not to miss a new opportunity for resuming nuclear talks with Iran.

“The Iranian side does not avoid dialogue — this is a positive moment,” Ryabkov told reporters in Moscow on Tuesday.

He stressed the importance of fast-tracking negotiations and finding a peaceful resolution to the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program.

The Russian official urged a meeting between Iranian officials and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said last week Tehran was ready to resume dialogue with the P5+1 — the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany.

In response to a letter by Ashton, a senior Iranian official stressed that Iran would need reassurances that all parties are committed to the three main pillars of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

As a signatory to the NPT, Tehran argues that it has the right to peaceful nuclear energy, rejecting US and Israeli-led accusations that it is secretly harboring a military nuclear program.

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