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Iran ready for nuclear talks

Holding a telephone conversation with European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton Saturday evening, Zarif stated that Iran was ready to resume nuclear talks with P5+1 countries (the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany), underscoring the need for having a "serious determination" to solve the existing nuclear dispute. Zarif also called for the recognition of Iran's "legitimate nuclear rights" as well as finding new ways to solve nuclear issues as proper solutions to end the problem. Besides, the two top diplomats exchanged views on regional developments and the situation in Egypt, reviewing ways to settle the ongoing crisis in Egypt and prevent bloodshed in that country. The EU foreign policy chief noted that talks between Iran and P5+1 would resume as soon as possible, adding that she would meet the Iranian counterpart on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in September in New York and discuss issues of mutual interest. Ashton, representing the P5+1 group, underlined her "continued determination and commitment to seek a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue." The EU top diplomat expressed the P5+1's readiness “to work with the new Iranian negotiating team as soon as they were appointed."

Iran and the P5+1 group have held several rounds of talks on a range of issues, with the main focus being on Iran’s nuclear energy program, as the latest round of negotiations were held on April 6 in the Kazakh capital Almaty.

The US and its Western allies fear Tehran's nuclear program is aimed at developing nuclear weapons, a claim the Islamic state rejects. Iran says its nuclear program has purely peaceful purposes.

Zarif talks on the phone with UN's Ban

Earlier on Saturday, Zarif and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon discussed on the phone the regional and international issues, especially the situation in Egypt.

Zarif condemned the killing of innocent and civilian people in Egypt, calling for an immediate end to violence and bloodshed.

Calling the conditions in Egypt as "critical" and "tragic", he also urged for more international efforts to prevent the escalation of the tension and to ease the crisis.

UN's Ban elaborated to Zarif on UN efforts to help ease the crisis in Egypt and find peaceful solutions.

Congratulating Zarif on his appointment as the new foreign minister, the UN chief also invited Iranian President Hassan Rohani to New York to attend the annual meeting of the United Nations General-Assembly in September, sources said.

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