According to Khabar Online's political correspondent, Ashton who represents the major powers at talks about Iran's nuclear program made her remarks less than ten days to the new round of negotiations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the 5+1 group (the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany).
She was speaking at a joint news conference with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari in Brussels, at which Iraq and the EU signed a framework agreement on cooperation. This will provide for regular political dialogue to boost trade and investment, as well as cooperation in areas such as health, education and energy.
Addressing the reporters, she said: 'My ambition is that we come away with the beginning of the end of the nuclear weapons program (!) in Iran. I hope we'll see the beginnings of success,' Reuters reported.
The West powers, above them the United States claim Iran's nuclear program is meant for producing atomic weapons, but the Islamic Republic has categorically rejected such allegation stressing that Iran's nuclear activity is aimed at civilian purposes including medical research and electricity production.
The latest round of nuclear negotiations between Iran and the six world powers took place in Istanbul last month after a 15-month hiatus and was described by both parties as “constructive”. The first round of the talks had been taken place in Geneva, Switzerland in December 2010, and the second was held in Istanbul, Turkey in January 2011.
The positive attitude of the Islamic Republic and 5+1 group toward the new round of nuclear talks has put an upbeat impact on Iran's stock market as well as the price of foreign currency and gold in the nationwide markets, asboth foreign exchange and gold rates have been reduced.
Earlier on December, the United States imposed new economic sanctions including barring foreign financial institutions that do business with Iran's Central Bank (CBI) from opening or maintaining correspondent operations in the United States. Two days later, the gold price soared and Iran's currency hit a record low against the U.S. dollar.
Ashton did not give details on the Iran and 5+1 group forthcoming talks, although she had already made a visit to the occupied lands of Palestine (Israel) discussing the issue with the officials of the Zionist regime.
She also appreciated Iraq for hosting the second round of nuclear negotiation in Baghdad. Meanwhile at the news conference, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari avoided to take sides in upcoming talks saying that the success of the event would be in the best interests of Iraq.
In another development, Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi earlier said Iran regards the upcoming nuclear talks with the 5+1 group so significant and expressed his optimism about the negotiation's result.
'As a matter of fact, not only Iran but the West wants to settle the nuclear dispute. It's important for us to bring the dispute to an end since we would like the international oil market to have stability from all aspects,' Iran's top diplomat stated.
Salehi went on to say: 'Imposing sanctions on Iranian oil exports will hike up oil price throughout the world and will causedamages to the European economy which is not our interest.'
“The EU needs Iran’s oil and Iran is interested to use the technological capabilities of European countries based on international relations,' the Foreign Minister stated.
On the precondition set by the West that Iran should halt uranium enrichment up to 20 percent, Salehi said: 'Our nuclear activities are carried out within the framework of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). However, we are ready to discuss on the current problems in a serious manner but without any precondition.'
In response to a question about the objectives of Iran's upcoming negotiations with 5+1 group he said: 'We want to resolve the issue. We are ready to begin constructive negotiations and waiting for their response.'
'We understand their situation. They are looking for a respectful way out of the issue and we are ready to prepare the ground for their respectful way out by bringing new initiatives to the table,' Salehi added.