E.U. Diplomat to Confer ‘Soon’ With Iran’s New Top Diplomat

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
Aug. 19, 2013, 6:02 a.m.

The European Uni­on’s chief in­ter­locutor in atom­ic dis­cus­sions with Ir­an made ar­range­ments on Sat­urday to “meet soon” with the Per­sian Gulf power’s newly con­firmed top dip­lo­mat, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­por­ted.

EU for­eign policy chief Cath­er­ine Ashton has rep­res­en­ted six world powers — China, France, Ger­many, Rus­sia, the United King­dom and the United States — in mul­ti­lat­er­al talks to ad­dress fears that Tehran’s os­tens­ibly non­mil­it­ary nuc­le­ar pro­gram is ac­tu­ally aimed at es­tab­lish­ing an arms cap­ab­il­ity. After years of meet­ings, the sides have gained little trac­tion in clear­ing up con­cerns about Tehran’s atom­ic in­ten­tions.

Ashton “called the Ir­a­ni­an For­eign Min­is­ter Mo­hammad Javad Za­rif today to con­grat­u­late him on as­sum­ing his new post,” her of­fice said in a state­ment. Law­makers con­firmed Za­rif to the po­s­i­tion on Thursday, days after his ap­point­ment was an­nounced by re­cently in­aug­ur­ated Pres­id­ent Has­san Rouh­ani.

The five per­man­ent U.N. Se­cur­ity Coun­cil mem­ber na­tions and Ger­many are “ready to work with the new Ir­a­ni­an [nuc­le­ar] ne­go­ti­at­ing team as soon as they [are] ap­poin­ted,” the state­ment adds. “[Ashton] con­firmed the need for sub­stan­tial talks that will lead to con­crete res­ults swiftly.”

Ir­an pos­sesses thou­sands more urani­um en­rich­ment cent­ri­fuges than it had pre­vi­ously pub­licly stated, AP re­por­ted a seni­or Ir­a­ni­an nuc­le­ar of­fi­cial in­dic­at­ing on Sat­urday, as he stepped down as head of the Ir­a­ni­an Atom­ic En­ergy Or­gan­iz­a­tion. The urani­um en­rich­ment pro­cess could gen­er­ate fuel for peace­ful pur­poses, as well as nuc­le­ar-bomb ma­ter­i­al, if such a de­cision were taken.

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