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Iranian President Says Tehran Willing To Hold Nuclear Talks

  • VOA News

Iran's president says he is willing to hold talks about his country's uranium enrichment program, but not with nations that threaten to use force against his.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke to reporters on Saturday following meetings of eight mainly Muslim nations on the Indonesian resort island of Bali. He said again that Iran's nuclear ambitions are only for peaceful, energy-producing purposes.

He also thanked the gathered nations for their support and for their defense of the peaceful development of nuclear energy.

The Iranian president's remarks came during talks with the group known as the Developing Eight (D-8) including Pakistan, Turkey, Malaysia, Egypt, Bangladesh, Nigeria and host Indonesia.

Their talks were intended to center on trade and development, but the tense international standoff concerning Iran's nuclear program overshadowed those issues.

Earlier at the summit, Iran's foreign minister said western nations must recognize Tehran's right to peaceful nuclear energy.

Three EU countries -- Britain, France and Germany -- are preparing a new package of incentives to persuade Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions. The package is expected to be presented to Tehran within weeks.

On Friday, diplomats said international inspectors have found traces of highly enriched uranium at a former research center (Lavizan) in Iran that could indicate Tehran is secretly acquiring material for nuclear weapons.

News agencies quote the diplomats, speaking anonymously, as saying the finding by International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors still needs to be confirmed by laboratory tests.


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