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Iran says negotiations on to resume talks with big powers

The Sydney News.Net
Wednesday 18th January, 2012


Iran claims US has offered to resume talks through a letter
TEHRAN - Iran indicated on Wednesday that negotiations are likely for resumption of talks with the big powers, including the US, even as the European Union denied any fresh communications with Tehran.

Conservative lawmaker Ali Motahari revealed that Iran has received a letter from the Obama administration which besides warning about consequences of carrying out threat to close the Strait of Hormuz has also offered to resume dialogue with Tehran.

"In this letter it was said that closing the Strait of Hormuz is our 'red line' and also asked for direct negotiations," the semi-official Fars news agency quoted Mottahari as saying.

"The first part of letter has a threatening stance and the second part contains an offer for dialogue," Motahari added.

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast also confirmed that Tehran had received the letter and was considering a possible response.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi on a visit to Turkey told reporters that the date is still to be finalized, but it is likely to be soon.

"Negotiations are going on about venue and date. We would like to have these negotiations Most probably, I am not sure yet, the venue will be Istanbul."

There is no confirmation from the US about the offer to resume negotiations.

A spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, representing the six big powers which are mulling further sanctions against Iran, denied any fresh offer to Iran for resumption of negotiations.
The talks last held in Istanbul between Iran and the UN Security Council permanent members the US, Britain, France, Russia and China broke off last year due to conditions put by Iran for negotiations.

"We are still waiting for Iran to respond to the substantive proposals the High Representative (Ashton) made in her letter in October," the spokesman said in Brussels.

A recent report by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN nuclear watchdog, has hardened suspicions that Iran is working on designing a nuclear weapon in secrecy.

EU foreign ministers are expected to approve an embargo on Iranian oil at a meeting scheduled on January 23.

While the big powers are waiting for Iran to accommodate their concerns on its nuclear programme, Tehran has been insistent that other countries must respect its right to enrich uranium for power generation and medical application.

Russia, a member of the big power group, is not in accord with the new sanctions proposed and has been opposing any military action against Iran as mooted by the US and Israel, fearing it would have ramifications for the whole region.

"On the chances of whether this catastrophe will happen or not you should ask those who repeatedly talk about this," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a news conference in Moscow.

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak meanwhile has sought to allay fears of any attack on Iran stating that the decision was "very far off".


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