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Germany sees signals from Iran on talks-Westerwelle

Westerwelle says should start serious talks with Iran.

October 8, 2010 1:33 by

Germany believes Iran is ready to resume talks about its nuclear programme, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle was quoted as saying on Friday.

“Following the cautious signals for talks coming from Iran what’s important now is to quickly start serious and constructive talks,” Westerwelle told the Financial Times Deutschland newspaper.

“The pressure from the international community is evidently having an effect,” Westerwelle added.

Big powers hope the imposition since June of tougher U.N., U.S. and European sanctions on Iran, the world’s fifth-largest oil exporter, will persuade it to enter serious negotiations and ultimately agree to curb its disputed nuclear activities.

There have been no substantive discussions since late 2009, but European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told Reuters in late September that talks between Iran and the six powers involved in diplomatic efforts to resolve the dispute could take place “in the next few weeks”.

Iran, which denies any nuclear arms ambitions and dismisses the impact of sanctions, said one of its officials may meet a representative of the powers in October.

Major powers said last month they hoped for an early negotiated solution to the stand-off over Iran’s nuclear programme, which the United States and its allies suspect is aimed at developing nuclear weapons.

As part of broad nuclear talks, the six powers have also said they remain ready to resume negotiations on a short-lived deal struck last year under which Iran would part with some of its low-enriched uranium — bomb material, if refined to a high degree — in exchange for medical research reactor fuel.

Westerwelle said he would discuss the issue on Friday in Berlin with Yukiya Amano, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Iran, which in recent months has called for speedy negotiations on the fuel swap idea but has listed conditions for broader talks, says its uranium enrichment work is peaceful and geared to generate electricity.

(Reporting by Erik Kirschbaum; editing by Myra MacDonald)

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