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Ashton to meet Iran diplomat 'soon'

The European Union's foreign policy chief has said she will "soon" meet the new Iranian foreign minister amid the need for swift and substantial talks over Tehran's disputed nuclear programme.

Catherine Ashton's office called Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday to congratulate him on his appointment.

Mrs Ashton said she and the nations negotiating with Iran on the nuclear issue - the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany - were looking forward to engaging with Tehran's new negotiating team as soon as it is appointed to find a diplomatic solution.

The West fears that Iran's nuclear programme is aimed at making atomic weapons, and has imposed a series of sanctions. Iran insists it atomic programme is for peaceful purposes only.

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