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Iran Rejects Uranium Enrichment Freeze as Precondition for Talks

  • VOA News

Iran has again vowed to continue its nuclear fuel work and rejected freezing uranium enrichment as a precondition for talks on its nuclear program.

The deputy head of Iran's National Security Council, Javad Vaeedi, made the statement in a speech in Vienna, Austria Thursday.

Iran's embassy in Vienna released a translation of the speech on Friday. According to it, Vaeedi said -quote - "Iran considers suspension of uranium enrichment to be neither a precondition for talks nor a result of the talks."

The embassy said earlier reports incorrectly quoted Vaeedi as saying suspension could result from the talks.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said Iran will not respond to an offer of incentives to suspend enrichment and return to the talks until mid-August. White House spokesman Tony Snow today (Friday) said the U.S. and its European allies prefer an earlier response.

The United States has offered to join international talks with Iran on its nuclear program if Tehran first suspends uranium enrichment.

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Thursday said Iran is seriously considering the U.S.-backed incentives proposal. Mr. Annan spoke after meeting in Geneva with Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki.

The U.S. and its European allies believe Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran denies this.

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