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El-Baradei Says Decision On U.S.-Iran Talks Up To Bush

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (file photo) (RFE/RL) May 25, 2006 -- The head of the United Nations' nuclear watchdog agency, Muhammad el-Baradei, says he has discussed Iran's views about its nuclear dispute with the West with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

El-Baradei told reporters after the meeting yesterday in Washington that it remains up to the United States to decide whether it wants to engage Iran in direct talks on the nuclear issue.

"In my view, as I said before, at a certain point, if negotiations were to move in the right direction, particularly when the discussion of security issues were to start, I would hope that the United States will be able to join that dialogue," el-Baradei added.

The Bush administration yesterday said no direct talks with Iran can be considered until Tehran agrees to verifiably and permanently halt all uranium enrichment and processing activities.

Progress -- but no consensus -- was meanwhile reported during talks in London among six world powers aimed at agreeing a package of incentives and threats to persuade Iran to halt uranium enrichment work.

Officials said the foreign ministers of the six countries -- the permanent members of the UN Security Council: United States, Russia, China, France, and Britain, along with Germany -- would consider meeting soon to see if any final agreement can be reached.

(compiled from agency reports)

RFE/RL Iran Report

RFE/RL Iran Report

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