U.S., EU optimistic for Iran nuke talks (WASHINGTON TIMES) By Guy Taylor 02/18/12)
WASHINGTON TIMES Articles-Index-Top
U.S. and European leaders expressed optimism Friday that direct talks
with Iran about its nuclear program could restart in the near future.
“There is a potential possibility that Iran may be ready to start
talks,” Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s top official for
foreign affairs and security policy, said at the State
Department. “I’m cautious and optimistic at the same time for this.”
Her remarks come two days after Iranian leaders sent a letter to Mrs.
Ashton indicating a willingness to restart nuclear talks with the
United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany.
Mrs. Ashton appeared beside Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who
told reporters that Iran’s delivery of the letter, which was in
response to a similarly toned note from Mrs. Ashton, signals a “an
“We welcome the letter,” Mrs. Clinton said.
It remains to be seen when and where such talks will take place,
although officials and analysts have suggested the venue will be in
Turkey, where meetings could convene during the coming weeks.
Talks between Iran and the other nations about the Islamic republic’s
nuclear program last took place in Istanbul in January 2011, but
broke down amid frustration that Iranian leaders were unwilling to
make concessions on the program.
Tensions have mounted since then, with Iran claiming the program is
geared for peaceful purposes, and the United States, Israel and
others assert it is aimed at making nuclear bombs.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told lawmakers Friday
that Iran’s leaders “may be changing their mind” about pressing ahead
with the nuclear program amid international sanctions on Iran’s
economy. (© 2012 The Washington Times, LLC. 02/18/12)
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