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Iran ready to hold nuclear talks with world powers: report
Tue Sep 1, 2009 11:04am EDT
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By Parisa Hafezi
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran has prepared an "updated nuclear proposal" and is ready to hold negotiations with world powers, state-run television quoted the Islamic Republic's chief nuclear negotiator as saying on Tuesday.
The announcement was made a day before six world powers are expected to hold high-level talks in Germany on what to do about Iran's contentious nuclear program. The West suspects the Islamic state is seeking to build bombs. Iran denies the charge.
U.S. President Barack Obama has given Iran until later this month to take up a six-power offer of talks on trade benefits if it shelves nuclear fuel production, or face harsher sanctions.
But the content of Tehran's proposal, and to what extent it addresses the six powers' concerns, was not immediately clear.
Two state-run television stations, al-Alam and Press TV, described it as a "nuclear proposal" or "nuclear package."
The official IRNA news agency also said Iran was ready to present a package, but it did not refer to the nuclear dispute.
"Justice, development and peace in the international scene are the main goals ... in the proposed package," it quoted chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili as saying.
He added: "Iran is ready to use its ... capacities to remove common concerns on the international scene."
Such language may spark suspicions in Western capitals that the Iran's proposal, like others before, fails to specifically address their concerns about its nuclear ambitions and is a ruse to buy time and avert the threat of more punitive measures.
Iran has repeatedly rejected demands to halt uranium enrichment, which can have both military or civilian purposes, or even freeze it at current levels of output.
"Iran has prepared an updated nuclear proposal and is ready to resume negotiations with world powers," Jalili was quoted as saying by al-Alam, Iran's Arabic-language satellite channel.
Press TV, the Islamic Republic's English-language state television, said: "Iran ready to offer new nuclear package."
Asked about the report of Iran's readiness for talks, a Western diplomat told Reuters in Vienna: "If it is confirmed ... it would of course be very welcome."
But a German Foreign Ministry spokesman said it had not yet been contacted by Iran: "For us, the situation hasn't changed." Continued...
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