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Iranian, U.S. Leaders Indicate Renewed Nuclear Talks Possible

Iran's President Mahmud Ahmadinejad
The leaders of Iran and the United States have indicated they are ready to resume international talks aimed at ending the standoff over Iran's nuclear program.

Presidents Mahmud Ahmadinejad and Barack Obama spoke about the nuclear issue in separate speeches on September 23 to the United Nations General Assembly. The speeches came four months after the latest round of UN sanctions was imposed against Iran for failing to curb uranium-enrichment activities.

Obama called on Iran to confirm to the international community the peaceful intent of its nuclear program. Washington and its allies suspect Iran's uranium enrichment program could be aimed at the eventual development of an atomic bomb or the capacity to make one on short notice -- an allegation denied by Iran.

"The United States and the international community seek a resolution to our differences with Iran, and the door remains open to diplomacy should Iran choose to walk through it," Obama said. "But the Iranian government must demonstrate a clear and credible commitment and confirm to the world the peaceful intent of its nuclear program."

In his remarks to the General Assemby, Ahmadinejad said Iran has "always been ready for a dialogue based on respect and justice." But he also said Tehran would not be forced into actions by sanctions that are viewed as "illegal" by the Iranian government.

The Iranian ISNA news agency quoted Ahmadinejad as telling a Japanese interviewer that talks between Tehran and world powers could be held as early as October.

compiled from agency reports