Iran’s offer to begin nuclear talks with the G5+1 has been answered by Catherine Ashton, a representative of the six world powers.
Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief, wrote to Saeed Jaili, Iran’s nuclear negotiator, accepting the offer to meet for discussions about the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.
The EU and the United States have been ratcheting up sanctions against Iran in recent months, with the latest targets being Iran’s Central Bank and oil exports.
Iran has maintained all along that all of its nuclear activities are for peaceful purposes and it does not wish to build nuclear weapons.
Ashton said in a statement: “Today I have replied to Dr. Jalili’s letter of February 14; I have offered to resume talks with Iran on the nuclear issue.”
Ashton’s letter described the intentions of the G5+1, saying: “Our overall goal remains a comprehensive negotiated, long-term solution which restores international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program, while respecting Iran’s right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy.”
She added that it’s now time to arrange the date and location of the meeting.
Iran showed its readiness for cooperation by announcing on Tuesday that it would allow inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency to visit a military complex they had been kept from inspecting on an earlier trip.
Relations between Iran and the U.S. have also been softened by the announcement that Amir Mirzai Hekmati, the American citizen of Iranian background who was detained in Iran in December and charged with “spying for the U.S.”, is no longer facing the death sentence.