Iran hails "progress" in nuclear talks as Ashton makes first visit to Tehran

Iran hails "progress" in nuclear talks as Ashton makes first visit to Tehran

Ali-Akbar Salehi. (ISNA)

Based on the reports from the negotiation meeting, there has been good progress."
Tehran (ANTARA News/Xinhua-OANA) - Iranian officials hailed " advancement" in the recent expert-level nuclear talks, as the European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton made her first visit to Iran on Saturday (March 8) , local media reported.

Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Ali-Akbar Salehi, said that "good progress" was made in the latest round of expert-level talks between Iran and the six world powers in the Austrian capital Vienna.

"Based on the reports from the negotiation meeting, there has been good progress," Salehi said, adding that "if the other side shows goodwill, there would be a positive outcome."

The expert-level talks, held from March 5 to 7 in Vienna, aimed to hammer out a final agreement on Irans controversial nuclear program following an interim agreement reached between Iran and the P5+1 group on Nov. 24, 2013.

Salehi urged world powers to seize the opportunity and use the talks to resolve the Wests decade-old standoff with Iran over the countrys nuclear program.

Meanwhile, Hamid Baeidinejad, the head of Iranian expert-level nuclear negotiating team, said ahead of a fresh round of high- level nuclear talks in Vienna set for March 18 that the talks were "useful" and the subjects raised by both sides were discussed during "serious" talks.

The remarks by Iranian nuclear officials came concurrent with the arrival of Catherine Ashton to Tehran on Saturday to discuss Irans nuclear issue and the relations between Iran and Europe.

Ashton is scheduled to meet with Irans president, foreign minister and parliament speaker during her stay in Tehran, local media said.

Ali Mohammad Ali, a member of the Planning and Budget Committee of Irans parliament, said Saturday that Ashtons visit will open a new chapter in the bilateral economic ties between Iran and the European bloc.

Another Iranian lawmaker said Ashtons visit can facilitate the implementation of a previously-clinched nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

Ashton is in Iran at the invitation of Irans Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif. She will visit the historic city of Isfahan on Monday.
(U.C003)

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