Iran eager to ‘resume’ nuclear talks

Iran wants to kick-start its stalled nuclear talks with world powers, according to a letter obtained by the Associated Press sent a day before the Islamic Republic announced new progress in producing its own nuclear fuel. 

The letter from the Islamic Republic's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili pledged "readiness for dialogue," calling on the international community and Iran to "resume our talks in order to take fundamental steps for sustainable cooperation." The letter, sent Tuesday, was addressed to UN Security Council pointwoman and EU foreign policy head Catherine Ashton, who had earlier sent a letter to the Islamic Republic proposing a fresh round of talks. 

Western powers suspect Iran of using its nuclear program to make a bomb, a charge the Islamic Republic denies. 

The Obama administration played down the importance of the letter, the Associated Press said, chalking it up to economic woes. European officials declined to comment on the document. Reuters reported on Thursday that European companies are cutting their imports of Iranian crude by more than one-third in anticipation of European Union sanctions. 

More from GlobalPost: Iran announces nuclear advances

On Wednesday, Iran announced it had produced enough uranium to insert into a Tehran research reactor. The move, which requires enrichment of 20 percent — far below the 90 percent required to produce nuclear weapons — was celebrated as a breakthrough for the country's controversial nuclear program. Also Wednesday, Iran said it had stopped oil exports to the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, France, Greece and Portugal in revenge for sanctions. 

Last year Iran supplied Europe and Turkey with over 700,000 barrels per day, according to a Reuters report citing industry sources, a figure that has since fallen to some 650,000 barrels ahead of an upcoming EU ban set to go into effect July 1. 

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