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September 18, 2006 -- A general conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) opens today in Vienna.
Iran's nuclear program is expected to top the agenda of the week-long gathering. Iran is under international pressure to suspend its uranium-enrichment program.
IAEA Director-General Muhammad el-Baradei said today he remains "hopeful" Iran and Europe will be able to move toward "long-overdue negotiations."
Meanwhile, Iran today said it was ready to discuss all questions on its nuclear program, but reaffirmed it would not accept any conditions before entering formal talks.
Government spokesman Gholam Hossein said that Iran and the international community can "have negotiations when there are no threats and preconditions."
According to the AFP news agency, some Arab states are expected to use the gathering to press for action against Israel and its alleged nuclear arsenal.