Iran announces nuclear talks, open to 'authentic' US meet

MUNICH, Germany (AFP) - Iran announced on Sunday fresh talks with world powers on its nuclear drive and said it was open to an offer from archfoe the United States for two-way discussions if Washington's intention was "authentic".

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said the six world powers planned to resume talks in Kazakhstan on Feb 25 and he insisted Iran had never pulled back from the negotiations.

"I have good news, I've heard yesterday that 5+1 or EU3+3 will be meeting in Kazakhstan 25th of February," Salehi said during a panel discussion at the Munich Security Conference.

Iran and six world powers - the US, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany - held three rounds of talks last year aimed at easing the standoff over Iran's nuclear activities, which Teheran insists are peaceful.

The six, known as the P5+1 or EU3+3, called on Iran to roll back its programme but stopped short of meeting Teheran's demands to scale back sanctions and the last round ended in stalemate in June in Moscow.

Since then, talks have been held up over disagreements on their location.

The new date for talks has not been confirmed by the office of the EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, who represents the P5+1 group.

"It was not us who has stepped back. But anyway we still are very hopeful," Salehi said.

He added that Iran took comments by US officials, including Vice President Joe Biden who said at the Munich conference on Saturday that Washington was ready to hold talks with Iran on its nuclear programme, "with positive consideration".

Washington ruptured diplomatic ties with Iran in the wake of the 1979 revolution and relations remain hostile.

"We have no red line for negotiations, bilateral negotiations when it comes to negotiating over a particular subject," Salehi said.