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Iran's Ahmadinejad Dismisses Nuclear Sanctions Talk

"No one can impose any sanctions on Iran any longer," President Mahmud Ahmadinejad said.
TEHRAN (Reuters) -- President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has dismissed any threat of new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, a day after world powers pressed Tehran to meet them this month for talks on the nuclear dispute.

"No one can impose any sanctions on Iran any longer," the hard-line president was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.

IRNA also quoted him as saying that Iran "welcomes all issues [for discussion] but we are more focused on our proposed package," referring to unspecified proposals to world powers that Iranian officials have talked about for several months.

The ISNA news agency quoted Ahmadinejad as saying Iran had presented its package, without elaborating whether this meant it had already been submitted to the six powers -- the United States, France, Russia, Britain, China, and Germany.

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Said Jalili, was quoted by state television on September 1 as saying Iran was ready to talk to the major powers and that Tehran had prepared "an updated nuclear proposal," without giving any details of its content.

But another senior official suggested that any such talks would not address the Islamic state's nuclear work, but instead focus on international and regional issues, in comments carried by the website of a state-run television station on September 3.

The West suspects Iran of trying to build nuclear bombs while Iran says its program is for peaceful power generation.

U.S. President Barack Obama has given Iran until later in September to take up a six powers' offer of talks on trade if it shelves nuclear enrichment, or face harsher penalties.

Iran, the world's fifth-largest oil exporter, has repeatedly rejected demands to halt or freeze expansion of uranium enrichment, which can have both civilian and military purposes.

On September 2, Germany hosted a meeting of senior officials from the six powers to discuss Iran's nuclear program.

Volker Stanzel, political director in the German Foreign Ministry, said after the meeting:

"With reference to Dr. Jalili's statement this week that Iran is ready to resume talks, I expect Iran to respond to the offer of talks [made] in April by agreeing to meet before [the] UNGA [UN General Assembly]," Stanzel said.

The UN General Assembly meeting is on September 23-25.