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Iran's Chief Nuclear Official Says He's Ready for Talks With World Powers

Tuesday, 01 Sep 2009 07:50 AM

TEHRAN -- Iran has prepared an updated nuclear proposal and is ready to hold negotiations with world powers, Iranian television quoted the Islamic Republic's chief nuclear negotiator as saying on Tuesday.

U.S. President Barack Obama has given Iran until later this month to take up a six powers' offer of talks on trade benefits if it shelves nuclear enrichment or face harsher sanctions.

Iran has repeatedly rejected demands to halt work which it says is for peaceful power generation but which the West suspects is aimed at making bombs.

"Iran has prepared an updated nuclear proposal and is ready to resume negotiations with world powers," chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili was quoted as saying by al-Alam, Iran's Arabic-language satellite television channel.

Press TV, Iran's English-language state television, said in a scrolling headline, without giving further detail, "Iran ready to offer new nuclear package."

Germany said on Monday it will host high-level talks this week with the United States, China, France, Britain and Russia on Iran's disputed nuclear program.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tehran should realize how "very serious" the September deadline set by Obama is to negotiate on its nuclear activities.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in April, before his disputed re-election in June, that Iran had prepared its own proposals to end the long-running stalemate over Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

Iran has previously said it is ready for "constructive" talks but has dismissed demands to halt or freeze uranium enrichment, which can have both civilian and military purposes.

It was unclear whether Iran's counter-offer in the nuclear dispute would be essentially different from previous ill-fated exchanges.

The six powers originally offered Iran economic and political incentives in 2006 in exchange for the suspension of enrichment. Iran's response hinted at some flexibility but ruled out suspension as a precondition for talks.

In June last year the six improved the offer but retained the precondition. In reply, Iran said it wanted to negotiate a broader peace and security deal and rejected any "condescending" formula to shelve its nuclear program.

© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved


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