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Iran Ready For Nuclear Talks, Won't Stop Uranium Conversion

16 October 2005 -- Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Assefi said today that Tehran is ready to resume nonconditional nuclear negotiations with Europe.

But he said Iran will not accept a new halt on uranium-conversion activities as a precondition to fresh talks with the EU-3, Great Britain, France, and Germany.

The talks stalled in August after Iran ended its voluntary suspension of uranium conversion.

That's the process of preparing uranium for enrichment, after which it can be used in civilian power plants -- and also in bombs.

The United States suspects Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons, and wants the matter referred to the UN Security Council. Assefi said today that there is no legal grounds for taking Iran before the council.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, speaking today in London, gave full backing to Britain and its EU partners France and Germany over their handling of the Iranian nuclear issue.

(news agencies)

For news and analysis of Iran's nuclear program, see RFE/RL's "Iran's Nuclear Program" microsite.