Ashton 'ready for nuclear talks' with Iran
EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton has expressed her readiness for talks over Iran's nuclear program in a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, Press TV reported.
The two officials met on the sidelines of a major international conference in Kabul, in which representatives from 70 countries and organizations took part.
Mottaki also held separate meetings with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as well as the foreign ministers of Bulgaria, Italy and Japan.
Ashton told Mottaki that she was "ready to start nuclear negotiations" with the Islamic Republic.
"We are in contact with the Islamic Republic and we are serious to find a solution acceptable for both the parties," she said.
Mottaki told Ashton about "Iran's position" and "insisted on the Iranian nation's legitimate right concerning the nuclear issue," Mehr News Agency reported.
Earlier on Tuesday, a draft declaration for a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday said they were set to adopt tighter sanctions against Iran next week to block oil and gas investment in the country.
The declaration also voiced support for talks between Ashton and Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili.
In a July 6 letter to Ashton, Jalili said that Iran was still ready to resume talks with the group of six world powers -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany.
Ashton welcomed Jalili's offer saying EU and Iranian officials should discuss a time and venue for a meeting.