The Foreign Minister of Iran, Mohammad Javad Zarif, speaks during a press conference in Istanbul on January 4, 2014
The Foreign Minister of Iran, Mohammad Javad Zarif, speaks during a press conference in Istanbul on January 4, 2014 © Ozan Kose - AFP/File
The Foreign Minister of Iran, Mohammad Javad Zarif, speaks during a press conference in Istanbul on January 4, 2014
AFP
Last updated: January 11, 2014

Iran invites EU's Ashton to visit

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has invited EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton to visit the Islamic republic, 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.

Ashton's spokesman, Michael Mann, acknowledged the reported invitation.

She has "noted with interest the press reports of a possible invitation for her to visit Tehran," Mann said in Brussels, adding that she "has already indicated that she intends to visit Tehran as the work towards a comprehensive agreement progresses."

Iran and world powers agreed Friday on how to implement a landmark deal on containing Tehran's nuclear programme, but it still must be approved by each country before it can take effect.

"The negotiations were carried out in the atmosphere of mutual understanding and we found solutions for all the three points of disagreement, but the capitals should decide whether they accept or reject the solutions," said Araqchi.

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.

Two days of talks between high-level Iranian and EU negotiators ended in Geneva Friday with "very good progress on all the pertinent issues," Mann said earlier.

Ashton represents the so-called P5+1 group of world powers -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States -- in the decade-long nuclear negotiations with Iran.

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