Laura Rozen, on her excellent Politico foreign policy blog, writes that top European diplomat Catherine Ashton has again sent a letter to the Iranians because, despite making approving statements in the press, the Islamic Republic has not officially agreed to the proposed mid-November talks.
Ashton’s office sent another letter Friday to Iran’s Ambassador to the EU Ali Ashgar Khaji, asking for an RSVP.
“Given the proximity of the suggested dates and the diary constraints of the parties involved, I do hope for your early and positive response,” Ashton’s head of cabinet James Morrison wrote to Amb. Khaji, in a letter seen by POLITICO.
“While Iran has indicated through the media that they welcome the offer made by HR Ashton, she is still awaiting a formal response,” Ashton’s spokesperson Darren Ennis told POLITICO Friday.
“To this end HR Ashton has reaffirmed her commitment to restarting talks with Iran as soon as possible by writing to the Iranian authorities this morning (Friday), reinforcing her wish to meet on November 15 for three days,” Ennis continued. “She is looking forward to Iran formally responding positively to her proposal in the next few days to make this happen.”
[Russian] Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov called on Tehran to agree to negotiations chaired by Ashton.
“We urge our Iranian friends and colleagues to officially respond in a positive manner to the invitation,” Interfax quoted Ryabkov, Russia’s representative to negotiations between Iran and the six powers, as saying in an interview in Brussels.
[…] Russia has expressed increasing frustration with Iran’s refusal to suspend enrichment in exchange for trade and diplomatic incentives on offer from the six powers since 2006.
Moscow, which long sought to temper Western efforts to isolate Iran, endorsed harsher U.N. sanctions against Tehran in June and later announced it would not fulfill a contract to sell S-300 air defense missile systems to the Islamic Republic.