Iran Agrees To Nuclear Talks As Sanctions Bite

"Baroness Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief, who is envoy of the five permanent United Nations Security Council members and Germany will meet with Saeed Jalili, Iran's nuclear negotiator after November 10.

She said: ""This is a very significant move and we're now in touch with Iran to see whether we can agree the time and place as quickly as possible."" Baroness Ashton secured the talks – the first in more than a year – by dropping an insistence that the discussions focus only on Iran's uranium enrichment programme to concede that its wider interests could be included.

Iran has accumulated a 4,000lb stockpile of low enriched uranium and has further refined 66lb to a threshold level that would enable its scientists to produce enough weapons grade material for a bomb within a year.

The Iranian decision to accept the offer of talks was delivered just two days after the EU set out details of a tough new sanction regime on banking, energy and shipping industries. The fourth UN sanctions resolution on the uranium enrichment programme has triggered worldwide moves to curtail Iranian trade and investment.

Diplomats believe the sanctions are already causing significant damage to the regime's control over the economy. Restrictions on US dollar sales to Iran triggered a run on the Iranian rial that caused its first significant fall in more than a decade. The crisis was triggered in Dubai, which banned currency deals with Iranians, but the clampdown has affected Iranian representatives in Europe and Asia. "