October 13, 2013 - 21:53 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the European Union's foreign policy chief held talks Sunday, Oct 13, in London on Iran, Syria, Egypt, the Mideast peace process and other matters, according to the Associated Press.
The State Department says Kerry's session with Catherine Ashton was "very productive."
One focus was the upcoming negotiations between Iran and the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany. The talks are set for Tuesday and Wednesday in Geneva.
International penalties over Iran's nuclear program have damaged Iran's economy, and Iran wants to ease them in exchange for some concessions. The West contends Iran is trying to make a nuclear weapon. Tehran says its program is for peaceful purposes.
Kerry and Ashton also discussed efforts to organize an international peace conference aimed at achieving a political transition in war-torn Syria.
However, Iran on Sunday rejected the West's demand to send sensitive nuclear material out of the country, although signaling flexibility on other aspects of its atomic activities that worry world powers.
"Of course we will negotiate regarding the form, amount, and various levels of (uranium) enrichment, but the shipping of materials out of the country is our red line," Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi was quoted as saying on state television's website, according to Reuters.
Iran says it will never give up its "right" to refine uranium and Western experts acknowledge it may no longer be realistic to expect Iran to suspend all such work, as demanded by a series of UN Security Council resolutions since 2006.