EU's Ashton urges Iran to be flexible in upcoming nuclear talks
Iran should show flexibility in negotiations on resolving the dispute over its nuclear activities in order to achieve "substantial progress," Catherine Ashton, the European Union's top diplomat, said Wednesday, DPA reported.
Ashton told a UN Security Council session at UN headquarters in New York that Iran's nuclear issues remain at the top of the European Union agenda. Iran is to start talks on February 26 in Kazakhstan with Britain, France and Germany, representing Europe; and the United States, Russia and China.
"We hope Iran will come to this negotiation with flexibility and that we can make substantial progress," said Ashton, who is the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
"Our strength and credibility in negotiating with Iran derives from the E3+3, but also from the more general support that we receive from the international community," she said.
"I am very grateful for the constant support of the UN Security Council and I would add that our cooperation with and support to the International Atomic Energy Agency is also important."
The Iranian mission to the UN in New York issued a statement following Ashton's address to the council, saying that Iran is "fully committed" to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty and to cooperate with the IAEA.
The statement said Iran's legitimate rights to have a fuel cycle, including enrichment of uranium, should be fully recognized by the E3+3 group. The group is also known as P5 plus 1, indicating the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany.
It said Iran is "serious about those talks and expects the other side to be serious and forthcoming so that the next round of negotiations ... would lead to positive and fruitful results."