Iran nuclear talks open with US attending

July 19th, 2008 - 6:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Geneva, July 19 (DPA) World powers and Iran started a new round of negotiations over Iran’s nuclear programme in Geneva Saturday, with the United States present for the first time. On behalf of the five UN Security Council veto powers and Germany, European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Javier Solana met Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili to talk about an offer of future cooperation in the areas of economy, nuclear energy and politics once Tehran halts its nuclear activities.

The United States’ representative at the talks, Undersecretary of State William Burns, was the first US diplomat in 30 years to attend negotiations with Iran - though he was not taking an active role.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday that the presence of Burns - third-highest US diplomat - was a “strong signal” that the US was serious about the diplomatic process with Iran.

Representatives from Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China were also attending the meeting in Geneva’s city hall.

These and other countries are concerned Iran could one day use its civilian nuclear programme to build atom bombs, an allegation which Tehran strongly denies.

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