Iran nuclear talks to start Monday in Geneva, says Ashton
Iran has accepted the restart of international negotiations on its nuclear programme starting next week in Geneva, a spokesman for the European Union's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Tuesday, DPA reported.
Ashton is due to conduct talks on behalf of the so-called 5+1 group, comprising the permanent United Nations Security Council members United States, Britain, France, Russia and China, plus Germany.
"We have now received a response from the Iranian authorities in which (Iranian chief nuclear negotiator) Saaed Jalili has accepted Catherine Ashton's offer to meet in Geneva," Darren Ennis told the German Press Agency dpa.
"Talks ... will now take place next Monday and Tuesday," he added.
On Monday Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had confirmed his country's willingness to start talks on December 5, but indicated that the venue still had to be agreed.
Iran also wants next week's negotiations to focus on procedural issues for future talks, rather than on its concrete nuclear plans.
But Ashton considers that "the core issue on the table is Iran's nuclear programme," even if "this is a two-way dialogue and she is open to discuss other issues," her spokesman pointed out.