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France wants rapid response from Iran on nuclear talks proposal

PARIS, Jan 10 (KUNA) - France said on Thursday that it wanted a rapid response from Iran to a proposal for nuclear talks issued by the international community by EU Foreign Policy Chief, Catherine Ashton, official sources said.
Ashton offered fresh talks to the Iranian side at a meeting Tuesday in Istanbul, where she met with Iran's senior nuclear negotiator Said Jalili.
"We are ready to pursue our dialogue with Iran on the nuclear file," French Foreign Ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot said in a briefing here.
He added that "contacts are on-going and proposals for a date and place have been made to Iran," but he did not reveal details on these.
"We, along with our partners in the (5+1) group, expect a rapid response from the Iranians," Lalliot added.
The "5+1" group is made up of the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany, and is represented in contacts with Iran by Ashton.
In at least three important meetings last year, Iran and the international community failed to make significant progress on the controversial nuclear issue amid growing suspicion among several Western countries that Tehran is using its civil nuclear technology to mask the development of an atomic bomb.
Iran denies these allegations and says it is exercising its right to develop civil nuclear energy.
"The most important (thing) is that Iran fully respects, without delay, its international obligations and stops its sensitive activities as denounced by the international community, the Security Council and the Governors of the IAEA" - the UN nuclear watchdog, Lalliot remarked.
France also encouraged the prospect of a resumption of separate talks between the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran and said these talks should lead to full access by IAEA inspectors to Iranian sites, without any conditions.
"The Security Council resolutions and those of the (IAEA) Governors are very clear on the demands that are made of Iran. They must be concretely and fully satisfied," the spokesman stressed.
Iran has been singled out in four separate Security Council resolutions since 2006 for its nuclear activities and called upon to halt uranium enrichment and also to allow free access to its sites for monitoring.
Iran has also been previously been told to halt ballistic missile tests that could have a bearing on technology to launch a nuclear missile if one was developed.
Iran's failure to comply with those resolutions had led to a series of tough, international sanctions against Tehran, notably by Western nations, who have embargoed Iranian oil and put restrictions on financial and trade transactions and travel for Iranian officials. (end) jk.ajs KUNA 101715 Jan 13NNNN