Iran has agreed to hold high-level talks on nuclear issues with world powers for the first time in more than a year. But President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has reiterated that Tehran won’t negotiate away what he insists is its right to uranium enrichment.
No immediate breakthrough is expected when European Union foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton meets Iran’s nuclear negotiator next week.
But Western diplomats will be encouraged if a dialogue can be sustained after the talks in Geneva. Ashton has the backing of the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.
The West believes Iran’s atomic programme is designed to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran maintains it is for peaceful purposes.
Pressure on the Islamic Republic to return to the negotiating table has increased since June, when the UN imposed a fourth round of sanctions.