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Iran Prepares Package To Offer West

Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki

Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki

TEHRAN (Reuters) -- Iran is preparing a new package of "political, security and international" issues to put to the West, its foreign minister has said.

"The package can be a good basis for talks with the West. The package will contain Iran's stances on political, security, and international issues," Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki told a news conference.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on July 8 that the Group of Eight (G8) major powers would give Iran until September to accept negotiations over its nuclear ambitions or else face tougher sanctions.

In Iran's first reaction to Sarkozy's statement at the G8 summit in Italy, Mottaki said the Islamic state had not received "any new message" from the summit.

"We have not received any new message from the G8. But based on the news we have received, they had different views on different issues which did not lead to a unanimous agreement in some areas," Mottaki said.

U.S. President Barack Obama warned Iran on July 10 that the world would not wait indefinitely for it to end its nuclear defiance, saying Tehran had until September to comply or else face consequences.

The EU powers Britain, France, and Germany have led negotiations with Iran over nuclear work that the West suspects is aimed at bomb-making.

Tehran says its nuclear work is wholly peaceful and continues defiance in the nuclear row with the West, saying the Islamic state will not back down "even one step" over its disputed program.

Together with the United States, Russia, and China, the EU nations have offered a package of economic and other incentives to Iran if it will stop enriching uranium, a process that can produce fuel for power plants, or, potentially, a nuclear bomb.

Iran has rejected the demand, saying it has the right to pursue such work as a member of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

In a separate statement, the G8 said it was committed to finding a diplomatic solution to Iran's nuclear program.