Germany urges Iran to maintain talks despite Mottaki firing

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Germany urged Iran on Monday to continue negotiations with world powers over its disputed nuclear work despite the sacking of Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki.

"We hope that the negotiations which just resumed in Geneva will continue," German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said ahead of a regular meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Brussels.

The decision of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to fire Mottaki should not cause "an interruption or a delay in the talks," said Westerwelle.

"The talks have started and they must continue, whatever the political make-up may be," he said.

Germany along with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- United States, Britain, China, France and Russia -- resumed talks with Iran in the Swiss city last week after a 14-month pause.

The parties agreed to meet again in Istanbul in January.

Ahmadinejad named Iran's nuclear energy chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, as interim foreign minister until a permanent replacement is nominated and confirmed by the parliament, the official IRAN news agency said.

No explanation was given for the decision to fire Mottaki, a career diplomat who was appointed foreign minister in August 2005.

© 2010 AFP

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