Source AP ©

EU's Solana aims to continue talks with Iran on nuclear plans early next week

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said Tuesday he aimed to continue talks by telephone with Iran's top nuclear negotiator early next week to discuss Tehran's willingness to return to the negotiating table over its nuclear program.

He said it was his aim to resume negotiations as soon as possible with Iran.

Solana discussed the U.N. Security Council's new sanctions against Tehran with negotiator Ali Larijani over the phone on Monday.

Solana said the call was "constructive" and long but added no real progress was made how to proceed or whether the two would soon meet face-to-face.

On Saturday, the U.N. voted to toughen sanctions against Iran because of its continued refusal to stop its uranium enrichment, a precondition for further negotiations between Iran and Solana, who represents the five permanent Security Council members plus Germany.

The two have been the main negotiators on the issue of Iran's nuclear program, which the EU and the United States fear is being used to make nuclear weapons. Iran strongly denies this.

Iran has said it remains interested in negotiations, but has not said whether it will meet U.N. demands it freeze its enrichment process before returning to talks.

The EU is keen to continue the talks with Tehran as part of a "twin-track" approach - gradually imposing tougher sanctions if Tehran refuses to halt uranium enrichment while offering economic and political incentives on behalf of the six powers if it falls into line.

The newest Security Council measure bans Iranian arms exports and freezes the assets of an additional 28 people and organizations involved in Iran's nuclear and missile programs.

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