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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


Iranian President Says Tehran Willing to Hold Nuclear Talks

13 May 2006

Iran's president says he is willing to hold talks about his country's uranium enrichment program, but not with nations who threaten to use force against Iran.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke to reporters Saturday, following meetings of eight mainly Muslim nations on the Indonesian island of Bali. He said again that Iran's nuclear ambitions are only for peaceful, energy-producing purposes.

The Iranian president's remarks come during talks with the group known as the Developing Eight (D-8), including Pakistan, Turkey, Malaysia, Egypt, Bangladesh, Nigeria and host Indonesia.

The talks are intended to center on trade and development, but the tense international standoff concerning Iran's nuclear program has overshadowed those issues.

Earlier at the summit, Iran's foreign minister said he hoped European nations will press for peaceful solution to the current nuclear standoff, but said they must recognize Tehran's right to peaceful nuclear energy.

Three EU countries - Britain, France and Germany - are preparing a new package of incentives to persuade Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions. The package is expected to be presented to Tehran within weeks.

Friday, diplomats said international inspectors have found traces of highly enriched uranium at a former research center (Lavizan) in Iran, that could indicate Tehran is secretly acquiring material for nuclear weapons.

News agencies quote the diplomats, speaking anonymously, as saying the finding by International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors still needs to be confirmed by laboratory tests.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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