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NEWS Online - Iranian FM, Ashton to Meet in New York on Monday

NEWS Online

Iranian FM, Ashton to Meet in New York on MondayIranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton are due to meet in New York on Monday, sources said on Thursday.

Zarif and Ashton will meet on the sidelines of the upcoming UN General Assembly meeting in New York on September 23, informed sources said on Thursday.

The Iranian foreign minister earlier this month confirmed his telephone conversation with Ashton, and said, “We agreed to meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting" to follow up on Iran's nuclear issue.

Earlier this month, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani officially assigned the Foreign Ministry to take charge of future nuclear talks with the Group 5+1 (US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany).

Rouhani shifted the leading role in nuclear talks with the world powers from the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) to the country’s foreign ministry.

Later, Michael Mann, Ashton’s spokesman, announced the readiness of the G5+1 to resume a fresh round of talks with Iran.

“We are in touch with the Iranian side,” Mann said on Thursday, adding, “We stand ready to resume negotiations as soon as possible.”

In a phone conversation with Zarif last month, Ashton said the G5+1 was ready to resume negotiations with Iran as soon as the administration of President Rouhani appoints the country’s negotiating team.

The information center of the Iranian government said President Rouhani in a decree on Thursday has entrusted the responsibility for negotiations with the Group 5+1 to the foreign ministry.

Speaking to FNA earlier this month, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham confirmed the report, but said the SNSC will continue coordinating the talks, although the foreign ministry will have the lead.

Earlier this month, Zarif urged the G5+1 to show political will when negotiating with Iran in future.

“They should create a political will on their side and decide to resolve this issue,” Zarif said.

“We hope that we will see this change in the behavior of the G5+1 and the two or three countries which more than others pursue the policy of pressure against Iran, that they want to settle the problem through negotiations,” he added.

Zarif underlined that settlement of Iran's nuclear issue means that the Iranian nation's right to use the civilian nuclear technology, including uranium enrichment, will be recognized and the international community's concerns will be obviated.

Iran and the Group 5+1 have held several rounds of talks on a range of issues, with the main focus being on Iran’s nuclear energy program.

The two sides wrapped up their latest round of negotiations on April 6 in the Kazakh city of Almaty. An earlier meeting had been held in the city on February 26-27.

The US, Israel and some of their allies claim that Iran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program, with Washington and the European Union using the unfounded allegation as a pretext to impose sanctions on Iran.

Tehran strongly rejects the groundless claim over its nuclear activities, maintaining that as a committed signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it is entitled to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

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