EU’s Ashton to discuss nuclear talks with Iran at U.N. meeting

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The European Union’s diplomatic chief Catherine Ashton will meet Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on the sidelines of a U.N. meeting this month to discuss stalled nuclear negotiations, Ashton’s spokesman said on Friday.

Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, said on Thursday the Foreign Ministry would take over talks with world powers on Iran’s contested nuclear program, in an apparent move to smooth the diplomatic process after years of control by conservative hardliners.

Ashton leads talks with Iran over its nuclear program on behalf of the United States, China, Russia, Britain, Germany and France.

“The High Representative called Foreign Minister Zarif this morning, following the news that the Foreign Ministry will be responsible for the nuclear negotiations,” Ashton’s spokesman Michael Mann said.

“They agreed that they would meet in New York during the United Nations General Assembly week.”

The six powers suspect Iran hopes to achieve the capability to make bombs via its nuclear program. Tehran says it needs nuclear power for electricity generation and medical research.

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