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DUBAI: Iran and world powers announced new talks on Tehran’s nuclear programme on February 26, but hopes of progress after yesterday’s announcement were tempered when an Iranian official said the West’s goal in talking was to undermine the Islamic republic.
First word of the meeting, to be held in Kazakhstan, came in comments from Iran’s Supreme National Security Council to state news agency IRNA. Later, a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she hoped to make progress in allaying concerns about a program Iran denies has a military purpose. Both sides said the widely expected appointment to meet was made yesterday by Iran’s deputy nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri and European Union counterpart Helga Schmid. However, there were immediate signs from Iran that powerful figures were skeptical of their worth.
Western powers say Iran may be close to having the capacity to build a nuclear weapon, though Tehran insists it is seeking only electricity. “I hope that Iran is coming to these talks with a real sense of ‘we want to make progress.’ In every round I start from this principle, that the purpose of the meeting is to engage and I hope we will see that this time,” Ashton told reporters in BrusselsReuters