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EU official urges Iran to accept proposal for talks

The European Union's chief diplomat has again urged Iran to accept an offer to meet for three days of talks in Vienna next month to discuss its nuclear program. While Iranian officials have indicated an interest in such talks, they have not formally responded, EU officials said.

Catherine Ashton, the European Union high representative, reaffirmed the invitation in a letter Friday to a senior Iranian official, calling for the talks to start with a dinner on Nov. 15 and to be "followed by two days of consultations to enable substantial discussions," according to a copy of the letter seen by The Washington Post.

"The main focus of the meeting would be on the question of the Iranian nuclear programme, not excluding any other items pertinent to the discussion," added the letter, which was signed by a top aide to Ashton. The letter said that the talks would include senior officials from the other countries involved in the effort to restrain Iran's nuclear activities -- the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.

"She is looking forward to Iran formally responding positively to her proposal in the next few days to make this happen," said Darren Ennis, spokesman for Ashton.

By Glenn Kessler  | October 22, 2010; 12:34 PM ET
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