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White House Welcomes New Iran-EU Talks

May 31, 2006 -- The George W. Bush administration says it is pleased that Iran is willing to restart talks on its nuclear program with leading European countries.

The remarks, by White House spokesman Tony Snow on May 30, came after Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki said Tehran was ready to start talks with Britain, France, and Germany, the so-called EU-3.

"I'd say we're glad they're going back to the EU-3 talks, and we hope that they produce productive results," Snow said. "We've always been clear on the end [goal], which is that we want Iran to suspend all enrichment and reprocessing activities, and we wish them success."

In Tehran, the deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Mohammad Saeedi, said Iran's nuclear activity is "irreversible." The official news agency IRNA quoted Saeedi as saying the Europeans should recognize this "reality" in their proposal aimed at ending the standoff.

Officials from the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany, are scheduled to meet in Vienna on June 1 to try to narrow divisions over how to induce Tehran to stop uranium enrichment.

Ahead of that meeting, U.S. President Bush discussed Iran's nuclear program in separate phone calls with the Russian, French, and German leaders on May 30.

(compiled from agency reports)

Copyright (c) 2006. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org

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