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'Iran prepared to negotiate on nuclear issue'

Written by: Staff

Tehran, Sep 3: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today told UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan that Iran wanted to find a negotiated solution to its nuclear dispute with the West but would not freeze uranium enrichment before talks.

''On the nuclear issue, the president reaffirmed to me Iran's preparedness and determination to negotiate and find a solution to the crisis,'' Annan told a news conference in Tehran.

Annan added that Ahmadinejad had told him Iran ''does not accept suspension (of uranium enrichment) before negotiations'', as demanded by the UN Security Council.

Iran failed to heed an August 31 deadline set by the UN Security Council to halt uranium enrichment, a process which can be used to make fuel for power stations or material for warheads. It now faces the threat of sanctions.

The United States said on Friday it was consulting European governments about possible sanctions against the Islamic Republic, but the EU has signalled it wants more dialogue and has agreed to try to clarify Iran's stance within two weeks.

Ahmadinejad has been a staunch opponent of compromise over Iran's nuclear programme, which the West says is aimed at building atomic bombs but which Tehran insists is only to produce electricity.


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