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Iran, world powers pledge new nuclear talks

17 October 2013, 09:29

Geneva - World powers and Iran agreed on Wednesday to hold fresh talks next month on its nuclear programme, after Tehran made what it dubbed a breakthrough proposal that could allow spot checks on its nuclear sites.

Iran said it was hopeful for a "new phase in our relations" with the international community after two days of talks hailed by a US official as the most "detailed, straightforward" yet with the Iranian delegation.

Germany was also positive, saying the latest talks had boosted hope for a diplomatic solution but a wary Russia warned there was "no reason to break into applause".

"It was decided to convene the next meeting in Geneva on 7 November and 8 November," European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told reporters.

She read from what she underlined was an unprecedented joint statement agreed with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and herself as chair of the international negotiating team.

The EU is at the helm of the so-called P5+1 group - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany - which has spent years trying to reach a deal with Iran amid fears that it is developing nuclear weapons.

The Islamic republic vehemently denies that claim, insisting its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes.

The statement described this week's Geneva talks as "substantive and forward-looking", calling Iran's plan a "proposed basis for negotiation" and "important contribution".

This week's talks were the first between all parties' nuclear negotiators since Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, seen as a relative moderate, succeeded conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in August.

They ended a six-month freeze in negotiations over Iran's refusal to curb uranium enrichment in exchange for easing the international sanctions battering its economy.



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