Iran, E.U. Leaders Talk Nuclear Deal Options

E.U. foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton met with Iran's foreign minister and President Rouhani to discuss ongoing talks on Iran's nuclear program.

Iran, E.U. Leaders Talk Nuclear Deal Options
Fars News Agency

During a weekend trip to Iran, the European Union's foreign policy chief is expressing cautious optimism over an ongoing nuclear deal.

Baroness Catherine Ashton met with Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and its new president Hassan Rouhani. And the nuclear talks were at the top of Ashton's agenda. (Via Euronews)

She was one of the architects of the original six-month temporary agreement back in November, which limited Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanction relief. The deal was hailed as a historic breakthrough at the time. (Via CBS)

At a news conference Sunday, Ashton told reporters a more permanent Iran nuclear deal would be difficult to obtain, but she urged both sides to keep working toward that goal.

"There's no guarantee we'll succeed. But I think it's very important, with the support of the people of Iran ... that we should aim to try and succeed." (Via Al Jazeera)

For his part, Zarif told reporters Iran also wants a final nuclear deal, provided its rights are protected. "Iran will only accept a solution that is respectful, that respects the rights of the Iranian people." (Via Press TV)

A BBC analyst reports Ashton is also trying to explore Iran's relationship with the rest of the world, seeing if the nuclear negotiation breakthrough can translate into a diplomatic thaw with Iran.

"Whether that is emblematic of a new desire across Iranian society, across the political spectrum, for a new kind of relationship with Europe and the broader international community."

The next round of talks on Iran's nuclear program will take place in Vienna March 17.