US says Iran conditions remain

Clinton welcomes dialogue with Iran but demand for halt to enrichment remains.

    Ahmadinejad says new proposals will be presented to the six nuclear negotiators [File: AFP]

    "Iran will hold discussions based on this new package which guarantees peace and justice in the world," he said in a speech in the southern province of Kerman.

    Ahmadinejad said the proposals would be presented to the P5-plus-1 group, referring to UN Security Council permanent members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany.

    Uranium enrichment

    The president said the package was a revised version of one offered in May 2008, which suggested setting up consortia, including one in Iran, to enrich uranium and manufacture nuclear fuel.

    However, Clinton made it clear that the US still required Iran to stop enriching uranium, a process that can be used to make fuel for a nuclear reactor or the core of an atomic weapon.

    "We have not dropped or added any conditions," she said.

    France also insisted on Wednesday that talks could only take place once Iran suspends its enrichment of uranium.

    Washington has said that it fears Iran's civilian nuclear programme is a cover for efforts to build a nuclear bomb, but Tehran has repeatedly denied the charges insisting that its activities are aimed at meeting its energy needs.

    Iran's 2008 proposal came after world powers offered a package of economic incentives to help Iran's civilian nuclear programme in return for a halt to enrichment activities.

    Nuclear concerns

    Robert Wood, the US state department spokesman, said on Wednesday that the package "remains on the table".

    He also said Washington would examine any new proposals put forward by Tehran.  

    "If they come up with some new package with regard to their nuclear programme, we'll have to take a look and see what it is," he said.

    "Our hope will be that it addresses all of the concerns that the United States and other countries have about Iran's nuclear activities."

    The six negotiating powers asked Solana last week to invite Iran for talks, a result of several overtures from the administration of Barack Obama, the US president, towards Tehran.

    But on Wednesday, Solana said that he was yet to receive any formal response from Iran, despite Saeed Jalili, Iran's senior nuclear negotiator, indicating on Monday that Tehran was ready to talk with the P5-plus-1.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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