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Iran, EU agree to nuclear talks

Aug. 3, 2012 at 10:09 AM
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BRUSSELS, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- Iran and European officials agreed to discuss nuclear issues during talks scheduled for the end of August, said Europe's foreign policy chief.

Catherine Ashton, the top foreign policy official for the European Commission, said she spoke with Saeed Jalili, Iran's chief nuclear negotiation, about steps needed to address nuclear concerns.

Iran is suspected to pursuing the technology needed to manufacture a nuclear weapon. Tehran maintains the program is for civilian energy and medical research.

"I impressed the need for Iran now to address the issues we have raised in order to build confidence," she said in a statement. "I proposed, and Dr. Jalili agreed, that we talk again after further reflection at the end of the month."

A series of talks in the Middle East and in Russia with Iran this year returned little in the way of nuclear assurances from Tehran.

The U.S. and European governments have tightened sanctions on Iran in response to nuclear concerns, an effort the U.S. defense secretary said was having an effect.

A spokesman for the U.S. State Department, Patrick Ventrell, said "there is room to make this diplomacy work" but the window of opportunity was closing.

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