The FINANCIAL -- The European Union
urged Iran Thursday to work towards "concrete confidence building steps"
to deal with Western concerns over the Islamic republic's nuclear
In a letter to Iranian deputy negotiator Ali Bagheri, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton's deputy Helga Schmid reiterated the West's willingness to discuss proposals made during recent talks in Baghdad.
"We would feel very encouraged if Iran were now ready to enter into these discussions," said the letter, a copy of which was obtained by AFP.
"Now there is a need to engage seriously on issues of substance in order to agree on concrete confidence building steps which could be implemented swiftly. We are very much hoping for a political commitment on your side.
"Unfortunately, in Baghdad, Iran was not prepared to take up our suggestion to enter into discussions on the substance of the proposal," the latter said.
The so-called P5+1 group -- the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany -- revived talks with Iran in Istanbul in April and met again in Baghdad in May, though little was achieved.
According to EUbusiness, on Wednesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused the P5+1 of setting out to "waste time" in MOSCOW talks on June 18-19, while Iran's top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili also said he doubted the willingness of world powers to see the MOSCOW talks succeed.
The UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will urge Iran in talks Friday to allow it access to sites where Tehran is suspected of working on an atomic bomb.