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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

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Iran Says Ready for Talks with Europeans


30 May 2006

Iran's foreign minister says his country is ready to resume talks on its nuclear program with the European Union.

Manouchehr Mottaki says Iran will discuss its uranium enrichment program without any preconditions. He spoke after a meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement in Malaysia.

Mottaki's comments come as EU negotiators are finalizing a package of incentives aimed at persuading Iran to abandon sensitive nuclear activities.

Foreign ministers from Germany and the five permanent U.N. Security Council members, the U.S., France, Britain, China and Russia, are due to meet in Vienna on Thursday for more talks.

Ahead of that meeting, President Bush spoke Tuesday with the leaders of Russia, France and Germany. Details of the conversations were not released.

A State Department spokesman, Sean McCormack, said differences between the countries preparing to meet Thursday are being whittled down and chances for an agreement on incentives and possible sanctions are good.

White House spokesman Tony Snow has welcomed Iran's offer to return to negotiations.

The U.S. favors sanctions if Iran refuses to stop enriching uranium. Russia and China have opposed sanctions and the use of force.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao says he hopes the package of incentives will take into account Iran's requirements for a peaceful nuclear energy program.

Iran claims it has a right to nuclear enrichment technology.

The U.S. and Europe suspect Iran is seeking to build a nuclear weapon, a charge Iran denies.

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



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