EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton issued a statement on Friday making clear that a diplomatic path remained open to Iran.
“The EU3+3 (UK, France, Germany plus US, China and Russia) has always been clear about the validity of the dual track approach,” said Ashton. “We are waiting for the Iranian reaction.” [Reuters, 21 January].
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stuck a conciliatory tone at a news conference with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle in Washington.
“We do not seek conflict. We strongly believe the people of Iran deserve a better future,” Clinton said. “They can have that future, the country can be reintegrated into the global community when their government definitively turns away from pursuing nuclear weapons… We have to see a seriousness and sincerity of purpose coming from them.” [Reuters, 21 January].
Westerwelle said, “One thing is clear: the door for serious dialogue remains open but the option of nuclear weapons in Iran is not acceptable.”
China’s news agency Xinhua today quoted China’s Deputy Foreign Minister Wu Hailong as saying that Iran is “willing to resume talks and to strengthen cooperation with IAEA.” He had made the comments after his meeting with a visiting Iranian delegation headed by Supreme National Security Council Deputy Secretary Ali Baqeri.