Iran's talks with world powers to start in October
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran and world powers attempting to resolve a dispute over Tehran's nuclear programme will start talks on October 1.
In Brussels, a spokeswoman for European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana confirmed he had talked to Iranian chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili and that they had agreed on a meeting on that date.
"We now have ... a meeting with them on October 1," the spokeswoman said, giving no other details.
Solana has been representing the six powers -- the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia -- in long-running efforts to defuse the nuclear row.
Iranian media said the venue had yet to be decided.
"In talks between Saeed Jalili and Javier Solana, October 1 was announced as the starting date of Iran's talks with the 5+1 countries," the semi-official Mehr News Agency said, referring to the group of six powers.
The ISNA news agency said Solana and Jalili had agreed to meet without making clear who else would take part.
"Both sides have agreed on holding a meeting between representatives of (the six major powers) and representatives of Iran to discuss (Tehran's) proposed package," it said.
Iran last week handed over a package of proposals to the world powers, including the United States, in which Tehran said it was willing to discuss global nuclear disarmament as well as other international issues in wide-ranging talks.
But the document did not mention Iran's own nuclear programme, which the West suspects is aimed at making bombs, and officials have made clear it will not be part of any such discussions.
The Islamic Republic has repeatedly said its nuclear programme is for civil energy uses, not weapons.
The United States has said it will accept Iran's offer of talks despite Tehran's stated refusal to discuss its nuclear work, making clear it intended to raise the issue anyway.
Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi reiterated Tehran's position at a news conference on Monday:
"Iran will not talk over its definite rights, but as you might be aware, a part of the proposed package addresses removal of global concerns and particularly over nuclear disarmament," he said.
U.S. President Barack Obama, who came to office pledging a policy of engagement towards Iran, has suggested it may face harsher international sanctions if it does not accept good-faith talks by the end of September.
Turkey's foreign minister said during a visit to Tehran on Sunday his country would be prepared to host talks between Iran and the world powers, Iran's official news agency IRNA reported.
The six powers -- the permanent U.N. Security Council members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, as well as Germany -- offered Iran trade and diplomatic incentives in 2006 in exchange for a halt to uranium enrichment.
They improved the offer last year but retained the suspension demand, something Tehran has repeatedly ruled out as a precondition. Refined uranium can be used as fuel for nuclear power plants but also provide material for bombs. (Reporting by Reza Derakhshi and Hossein Jaseb in Tehran and by Brussels bureau; writing by Fredrik Dahl; editing by Samia Nakhoul)
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