Asked what Iran was seeking, Larijani replied: "Constructive dialogue that could ... address the concerns" both of Tehran and of the world powers fearing that Iran wanted to use enrichment to develop nuclear arms.
 
In December, the UN Security Council set a deadline of February 21 for Iran to stop enriching uranium or face sanctions.

An IAEA report on Iranian compliance with the UN demands is due to be released on Friday.


Ahmadinejad's remark

 

Meanwhile, the Iranian president has ruled out stopping uranium enrichment as a pre-condition to talks.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said at a rally in Gilan province on Tuesday: "We are in favour of dialogue. But in order for us to talk they are imposing a condition that would deprive us of our right.

   
"If they say that our nuclear production plant and its fuel cycle should be shut down, this is fine.

 

"But justice necessitates that those who want to negotiate should halt their own nuclear fuel cycles."

 

Limit proposed

Larijani and other Iranian officials have suggested that Iran place a formal limit on the degree of its enrichment as a guarantee that it is not developing an atomic weapon.

 

ElBaradei has proposed that Iran suspend its nuclear work in return for a hold on UN sanctions.

In an interview in the Financial Times on Tuesday, ElBaradei said that the meeting with Larijani would be "a last-ditch effort to try to convince them [the Iranians] that it is in their interest to find a way to go into negotiations."

 

"... justice necessitates that those who want to negotiate should halt their own nuclear fuel cycles"

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iranian President

Interviewed on Al Jazeera, Bruno Pellaud, a former IAEA deputy director-general, said that calls for a compromise over nuclear enrichment were pointless "because of the absolute determination of the US government to prevent any compromise".

 

He said: "The US has not budged from the position ... namely to see all activities towards nuclear enrichment suspended in Iran.

 

"Based on the declaration of Ali Larijani in Munich last week, there is apparently a readiness on the part of the Iranian government to negotiate now."

 

The meeting between Larijani and ElBaradei, their first this year, comes just over a week after the former met Javier Solana, the EU foreign policy chief.

 

The West fears that Iran wants to develop nuclear weapons but Tehran insists that its nuclear-enrichment programme is solely for power generation.