29 October 2010
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton spoke to reporters briefly in Brussels, where leaders from the 27-member block wrapped up a two-day summit.
"I just wanted to let you know that this morning I have had a letter delivered through the ambassador from Iran... to say that he welcomes the fact that I have been in touch with him and that he is agreeable to beginning discussions after the 10th of November and wants to agree [on] a time and a place," said Ashton.
Earlier this month, Ashton proposed a new round of talks with Iran on its nuclear program in Vienna. This followed reports that Iran's top nuclear negotiator was interested in meeting with Ashton on behalf of a six-nation group - the U.S., Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany.
"I think this is a very significant move and we're not in touch with Iran this morning to see if we can agree [on] the time and the place as quickly as possible," added Ashton.
Iran and the international community have been at loggerheads over Tehran's nuclear program. Negotiations have stalled since October, 2009. Iran insists its nuclear program is for purely peaceful purposes. But many nations fear Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon.
Iran's new overture comes a day after the White House warned that Tehran's continued enrichment of uranium would mean that the international community would, in turn, be tougher in its future dealings with the Middle East nation.