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Iran Nuclear Talks: Europe Accepts Offer To Discuss Tehran's Program

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CATHERINE ASHTON
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton speaks during a media conference after a meeting of EU foreign ministers at the EU Council building in Brussels on Monday, Jan. 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo) | AP


BRUSSELS, March 6 (Reuters) - European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton wrote to Iran's chief nuclear negotiator on Tuesday, accepting an offer to meet to discuss Tehran's nuclear programme.

Ashton represents six powers - the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany - in dealings with Iran, and her offer of talks came after weeks of consultations with them.

Iran proposed in February in a letter from Saeed Jalili that negotiations with global powers resume after more than a year of standstill, and said Tehran would have "new initiatives" to bring to the table.

"Today I have replied to Dr. Jalili's letter of Feb. 14," Ashton said in a statement. "I have offered to resume talks with Iran on the nuclear issue," she said.

Ashton and her counterparts are concerned that Tehran's nuclear work is aimed at producing weapons, and they want Iran to hold back on the programme. Tehran says it is trying to develop nuclear power to meet rising electricity demand.

The time and venue for the talks will now have to be agreed, Ashton said. (Reporting by Justyna Pawlak)

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