Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

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Iran 'Ready to Discuss Nuclear Issue'


16 August 2006

Iran's foreign minister says Tehran is ready to discuss the dispute over its nuclear program with the world powers that have raised the issue before the U.N. Security Council.

Speaking to reporters in Tehran Wednesday Manouchehr Mottaki says his government is ready to discuss all issues, including demands for a suspension of Tehran's sensitive work on uranium enrichment.

The foreign minister says Iran will try to explain that halting uranium enrichment would be "illogical."

Two months ago, the United States and the other permanent members of the Security Council (Britain, France, Russia and China) along with Germany, gave Iran a list of incentives that would take effect once its sensitive nuclear work is halted.

The Security Council then passed a resolution during July demanding that Tehran halt uranium enrichment by the end of this month, or face possible sanctions. Iran says it will respond to the incentives offer next week (Tuesday 8/22), but has given no signal whether it will heed the August 31 deadline.

China is urging Iran to accept the incentives offer.

Beijing's official Xinhua news agency says Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai met his Iranian counterpart Ali Larijani in Tehran Tuesday for talks on the nuclear issue.

The United States and its allies believe Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran says its nuclear program is concentrated on generating electrical power, and has only peaceful purposes.

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



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