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World News

EU and Iran to hold nuclear talks this month

EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana listens to a question during the press conference of the EU-Russia summit in Mafra monastery on the outskirts of Lisbon October 26, 2007. The European Union's top diplomat and Iran's chief nuclear negotiator agreed on Sunday to hold a new round of talks on Tehran's disputed atomic ambitions by the end of this month, Iranian news agencies said on Sunday. REUTERS/Jose Manuel Ribeiro

TEHRAN (Reuters) - The European Union’s top diplomat and Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator agreed on Sunday to hold a new round of talks on Tehran’s disputed atomic ambitions by the end of this month, Iranian news agencies said on Sunday.

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Saeed Jalili, who last month replaced Ali Larijani as Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, spoke on the phone and welcomed further talks on the issue, the reports said.

“Both sides agreed that the next round of talks will be held (sometime) in the last 10 days of November,” Iranian deputy nuclear negotiator Javad Vaeedi was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.

The Islamic Republic has refused to halt sensitive nuclear work and denies Western accusations it wants to make atomic bombs, saying its programme is for power generation so that it can export more oil and gas.

Six world powers agreed in London on November 2 to push ahead with a third round of U.N. sanctions against Iran unless reports this month indicate Tehran has tried to address their concerns about its atomic activities.

Britain, France, Germany, the United States, Russia and China are expected to meet again on November 19 to assess reports on the nuclear dispute from Solana and from Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the U.N. atomic watchdog.

Before Solana’s and Jalili’s meeting, their deputies would hold talks, the semi-official Fars News Agency said. Reports did not give details on where and when they would take place.

Solana met Jalili in Rome on October 23 but the Spaniard afterwards said Iran’s new chief nuclear negotiator was upstaged by his predecessor and warned that “multiple players” from Iran could further complicate negotiations with the West.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last Wednesday said Iran’s nuclear programme was “irreversible.”

Editing by Michael Roddy

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