EU foreign policy chief Ashton: "We welcome Turkey maintaining dialogue with Iran"
The European Union welcomes Turkey continuing dialogue with Iran as well as its efforts to reach an agreement on a swap deal to provide nuclear fuel for a research reactor in Tehran, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said yesterday, responding to a written question at the European Parliament. Under a nuclear fuel swap deal brokered by Turkey and Brazil in May, Iran agreed to ship most of its enriched uranium abroad in return for nuclear fuel for a medical research reactor in Tehran. But this didn't prevent the US and its allies from passing a new round of sanctions on Iran at the UN Security Council in June. After their passage, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu engaged in hectic diplomatic activity to keep the swap deal alive. Davutoglu's efforts paid off, with Iran agreeing to resume negotiations with the EU and the Vienna Group, which is made up of the US, France, Russia and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Iran also asked Turkey and Brazil to be included in the renewed talks on controversial nuclear program. "It is evident that Turkey will maintain dialogue with its neighbors. The EU welcomes Turkey's efforts to come to an agreement on the swap deal to provide nuclear fuel for a medical research reactor in Tehran," Ashton said, adding that such an agreement on the supply of nuclear fuel would serve to build confidence, provided that certain matters are clarified.