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Iran insists no preconditions for atomic talks

Written by: Staff

TEHRAN, Sep 10 (Reuters) Iran will not accept any preconditions for talks on its nuclear programme, the Foreign Ministry spokesman today said, dismissing the idea Iran would accept suspension of its atomic work.

''Suspension is an issue that is in the past. We cannot return to the past. We want talks without any precondition,'' Hamid Reza Asefi told a weekly news conference.

Iran has long insisted it will not halt uranium enrichment as a precondition for nuclear talks, defying U N demands.

The latest comment follows yesterday's talks in Vienna between EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Iran's chief nuclear egotiator Ali Larijani over Iran's atomic plans. The talks will resume today.

Solana has been trying to clarify whether Iran might shift closer to satisfying the demand to stop enrichment to qualify for trade benefits offered by world powers and pre-empt sanctions by the U N Security Council.

''It is too soon to talk about sanctions. The Islamic Republic has long ago planned for what to do if it is put under sanctions,'' Asefi said.

The West accuses Iran of seeking to develop enrichment technology to produce material for nuclear weapons, but Iran insists it only wants to make fuel for atomic power plants.

Earlier, the official IRNA news agency quoted Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki as saying: ''The Islamic Republic of Iran will not abandon its right to nuclear technology but it is ready to give full cooperation over international supervision and transparency in the framework of international regulations.'' REUTERS DKA BS1321

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