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Tue Mar 6, 2012, 12:30 PM

Iran Offer for Nuclear EU-Led Talks Accepted [View all]

By James G. Neuger and Patrick Donahue - Tue Mar 06 15:54:00 GMT 2012

The European Union offered to restart negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, seeking a “full settlement” of the clash that has pushed up oil prices and raised the specter of war in the Middle East.

In a statement on behalf of China, France, Germany, Russia, the U.K. and the U.S., EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton urged Saeed Jalili, Iran’s nuclear envoy, to meet her to seek an accord in which Iran would clarify questions about its nuclear program. Ashton responded in a letter to an Iranian overture last month to restart talks.

The renewed prospect of negotiations to dial back concerns about Iran’s program came hours after U.S. President Barack Obama called for more time to let diplomacy and sanctions solve the standoff. Obama spoke yesterday following talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is in Washington to seek support for a more aggressive approach to Iran.

“Our overall goal remains a comprehensive negotiated, long-term solution which restores international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program,” Ashton said in the letter, released today in Brussels. The EU (BKIR) envoy said she didn’t want a “repeat” of Istanbul, where talks with Iran broke down in January 2011.



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