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Iran Says Its Nuclear Stance Unchanged

Iranian spokesman Gholamhussein Elham (file photo)
TEHRAN -- Iran says its nuclear stance has not changed and that it is ready to hold talks with world major powers over its disputed nuclear program based on international regulations.

"Iran's stance has not changed [on uranium enrichment], and we are ready to hold talks on the common points of the P5+1 incentives package and Iran's package," government spokesman Gholamhussein Elham told a weekly news conference on July 5.

Iran said on July 4 thatit had agreed to hold further discussions later this month about the incentives package offered by six world powers aimed at resolving a standoff over its disputed nuclear ambitions, but has so far rejected their demand to suspend uranium enrichment.

Offer Of Talks

There has been no word on the content of Iran's reply, submitted to European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana, to the offer of talks on economic and other benefits if it in return halts nuclear work the West suspects is aimed at making bombs.

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili told Solana on July 4 that Tehran had prepared its response with a "constructive and creative outlook".

The offer of trade and other incentives proposed by the United States, China, Russia, Germany, Britain, and France was presented to Iran by Solana last month.

Iran has put forward its own package of proposals aimed at resolving the row and has said it was encouraged by common points between the two separate proposals.

The six powers have told Iran that formal negotiations on the offer, which includes help to develop a civilian nuclear program, can start as soon as it suspends uranium enrichment.


But analysts and diplomats say it is uncertain whether Iran might accept a "freeze-for-freeze" idea to get preparatory talks going.

Such a step would involve Tehran freezing expansion of nuclear enrichment in return for world powers halting moves to add to three rounds of UN sanctions already imposed.

Enriched uranium can be used as fuel for power plants but also, if refined much more, provide material for nuclear bombs.

Iran, the world's fourth-largest oil exporter, says its nuclear program is solely aimed at generating electricity so that it can sell more of its oil and gas.