Ashton in Tehran for nuclear talks

Tehran, March 9: European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton arrived in Iran’s capital Tehran Saturday for talks on Iran’s nuclear issue and the relations between Iran and Europe, media reported.

Ashton is scheduled to meet with Iran’s president, foreign minister and parliament speaker during her stay in Tehran, Xinhua reported.

Senior Iranian nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi said Saturday the Islamic republic will never negotiate over its atomic energy programme under pressure. He rejected that military threats and economic sanctions have brought the Islamic republic to the negotiating table.

“We have resumed and will continue (nuclear) talks with logic and reasoning, and we will insist on our stances to protect rights of the Iranian people,” Araqchi said.

Ashton’s visit will open a new chapter in bilateral economic ties between Iran and the European bloc, said Ali Mohammad Ali, a member of the Planning and Budget Committee of Iran’s parliament.

He underlined Iran’s need to draw on Europe’s experience in state-of-the-art know-how, information technology, oil and gas, transportation and heavy industries.

Ashton is in Iran at the invitation of Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif. She will visit the historical city of Isfahan Monday.

IANS