The European Union (EU) and Iran agreed on Wednesday to seek a deal on the Iranian nuclear program by the end of July, which means that Iran will not be immediately hauled before the United Nations Security Council over suspicions that it is trying to make nuclear weapons.
After some three hours of talks with the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany, Iran's chief negotiator Hassan Rowhani told reporters that the EU would present Tehran with a package of ideas by the end of July.
"The EU has offered to give Iran a detailed proposal ... We believe that we could reach an agreement within a reasonably short time," Rowhani said, adding that he would report back to Tehran with the EU offer.
The EU proposals would flesh out an accord reached last November under which Iran suspended temporarily its nuclear activities in return for economic and technological concessions.
In return for the EU offer, Iran promised to maintain the suspension of its nuclear program, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said when asked by reporters to summarize Wednesday's pact.
Iran insists that its nuclear program is aimed only at generating electricity. But the United States fear the program is being used to develop nuclear weapons, and has been demanding since last year that Iran be hauled before the UN Security Council for sanctions.
The EU, led by Britain, France and Germany, has tried to mediate with an offer on free trade pact and more economic aid.