Catherine Ashton, EU Foreign Policy Chief, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, in Abu Dhabi on January 13, 2014
Catherine Ashton, EU Foreign Policy Chief, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, in Abu Dhabi on January 13, 2014 © Joseph Capellan - European Commission/AFP
Catherine Ashton, EU Foreign Policy Chief, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, in Abu Dhabi on January 13, 2014
AFP
Last updated: January 13, 2014

EU's Ashton plans to visit Iran within weeks

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in Kuwait City on Monday she plans to visit Iran within weeks, two days after Tehran invited her to the country.

"I read with interest the invitation to visit Tehran and it is my intention to do so in the course of the next weeks," Ashton told a press conference after talks with Kuwait's Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Sabah.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had invited Ashton to visit Tehran, Mehr news agency cited his deputy as saying on Saturday.

"Ashton has received an open invitation from Zarif to travel to Iran whenever she wants," Abbas Araqchi, the deputy negotiator in talks on Iran's disputed nuclear programme, said without giving any dates for the proposed trip.

The EU official is currently on a tour of the Gulf to discuss Syria, the nuclear deal with Iran and Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts. She has already visited the United Arab Emirates.

Ashton called for the implementation of the nuclear deal signed between the Western powers and Iran in November, saying the EU would "verify the actions on these (nuclear) sites".

She added that it was vital the "political agreement now translates into practical things," and expressed her hopes a comprehensive agreement could be reached "shortly."

Iran and world powers agreed on Sunday a landmark deal on containing Tehran's nuclear programme would take effect from January 20.

Under the deal clinched in November, Tehran agreed to curb parts of its nuclear drive for six months in exchange for receiving modest relief from international sanctions and a promise by Western powers not to impose new measures against its hard-hit economy.

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