Comments by U.S. President George W. Bush underlining Iran's right to a nuclear energy programme have given fresh impetus to Tehran's talks with the European Union, a senior Iranian official said on Friday.
Two years of discussions between Tehran and the EU trio of Britain, Germany and France broke down last month after Iran rejected an EU proposal to resolve the nuclear issue and broke U.N. seals at a uranium conversion plant.
Washington and its allies had wanted Iran's case escalated to the U.N. Security Council by the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) board of governors which meets on Monday. But Western officials have acknowledged in recent days that they may lack international support for such a move, according to Reuters.
Iranian officials, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, met the foreign ministers of the EU trio on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday.
"After the talks with the Europeans they know now that we haven't been planning to defeat Europe ... I think the talks (with the EU trio) will be resumed," said Ali Aghamohammadi, spokesman for Iran's Supreme National Security Council.
Speaking to Reuters in Tehran, Aghamohammadi highlighted Bush's comments this week in which he acknowledged Iran's right to develop nuclear technology for power generation and suggested Washington would be happy for Iran to import nuclear fuel to feed atomic reactors.
"Bush's speech has provided the Europeans with the space they needed to continue talks with Iran," he said. "Bush's speech was an obvious retreat from his past stances, thus paving the way for further negotiations."