Iranian president: EU official invited Tehran to hold talks in Geneva (UPDATE)
EDITOR's NOTE: Third, fourth, fifth, and sixth paragraphs, and additional information
Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov.18 /Trend, T.Jafarov /
EU High Representative for Foreign Policy Catherine Ashton has invited Tehran to hold talks in Geneva, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said at a press conference in Baku today.
He noted that Iran, in turn, insists on meeting with the "5 +1" group in Turkey.
Last week, the 5+1 group - which includes the U.N. Security Council's five permanent members of the UK, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany - and is represented by Ashton in the talks with Iran, agreed to hold negotiations on Dec. 5 in Geneva. According to the New York Times, Ashton said she was against holding the talks in Turkey.
Iran is ready to hold the negotiations.
"However, these talks must be held based on mutual respect and fairness," Ahmadinejad said. "Only in this case one can achieve any results."
He stressed that the Iranian nation will continue to develop its nuclear program "either way."
"Some countries are trying to influence Iran by means of pressure and sanctions, but after the adoption of the latest resolution by the U.N. Security Council, we have increased trade turnover with certain European countries by 14 percent," he said.
The West accuses Iran of trying to create nuclear weapons. Iran has repeatedly denied accusations of developing nuclear weapons, saying its nuclear program is purely civilian in nature.
So far, the U.N. Security Council has adopted six resolutions requiring Iran to cease uranium enrichment, four of which are aimed at imposing sanctions against the country with two resolutions containing warnings.
The U.N. Security Council adopted the resolution June 9, which envisages new sanctions against Tehran in connection with its refusal to cease uranium enrichment.