Iran announces nuclear talks, open to 'authentic' US meet

Iran announced today fresh talks with world powers on its nuclear drive and said it was open to a US offer for two-way discussions if Washington's intention was "authentic".

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said the six world powers planned to resume talks in Kazakhstan on February 25 and he insisted Iran had never pulled back from the negotiations.

"I have good news, I've heard yesterday that 5+1 or EU3+3 will be meeting in Kazakhstan 25th of February," Salehi said during a panel discussion at the Munich Security Conference.

Iran and six world powers -- the US, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany -- held three rounds of talks last year aimed at easing the standoff over Iran's nuclear activities, which Tehran insists are peaceful.

The six, known as the P5+1 or EU3+3, called on Iran to scale back its programme but stopped short of meeting Tehran's demands to scale back sanctions and the last round ended in stalemate in June in Moscow.

Since then, talks have been held up over disagreements on their location.

The new date for talks has not been confirmed by the office of the EU foreign policy chief, leading the negotiations.

"It was not us who has stepped back. But anyway we still are very hopeful," Salehi said.

He added that Iran took comments by US officials, including Vice President Joe Biden who said here yesterday Washington was ready to hold talks with Iran on its nuclear programme, "with positive consideration".

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