TEHRAN - Iran on Thursday expressed hopes of reviving moribund talks with world powers, a day after the Islamic republic unveiled what it described as major progress in its controversial nuclear programme.
“We have always welcomed the principle of negotiations and we believe that, with a positive approach and spirit of cooperation, there can be a step forward in these negotiations,” foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast was quoted as saying by the Fars news agency.
Iran on Wednesday sent a letter confirming its readiness to discuss resuming negotiations in response to an October 2011 offer in that sense made by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. The last round of talks between Iran and the so-called P5+1 group — UN Security Council permanent members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany — collapsed in Turkey in January 2011.
Iran’s tardy reply to Ashton appeared to be linked to the timing of its nuclear announcements also made on Wednesday, which collectively suggested the country had made strides in its atomic activities despite severe Western and UN sanctions. President Ahmadinejad oversaw what was described as the insertion of Iran’s first domestically produced, 20-percent enriched fuel plate into Tehran’s research reactor.