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France, Britain not moved by speech

Iranian president's words 'unhelpful' in soothing nuclear tensions

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Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad talks with CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Saturday.

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UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- Britain and France, leading countries involved in nuclear talks with Iran, said Saturday that Iranian President Ahmadinejad's speech to the United Nations did nothing to diffuse the dispute.

Ahmadinejad told the U.N. General Assembly that his country had an "inalienable right" to operate a nuclear power program and harshly criticized the United States and its allies.

His address was highly anticipated by diplomats looking for any shift in position toward cooperation with proposals from the European Union 3 nations -- France, the United Kingdom and Germany. (Full story)

British Foreign Minister Jack Straw said Ahmadinejad had made "an unhelpful speech" and said his government would consult with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Straw said ministers from France, Germany and the European Union "have worked very hard for two years to resolve this difficult issue. The only way to resolve it is diplomatically. But the Iranian president has offered nothing in this speech to suggest that he wants to abide by the agreement Iran has made."

Earlier this year Iran walked away from negotiations with the EU-3 and restarted uranium reprocessing, ending a voluntary commitment to halt the procedure during negotiations.

On Monday there is to be a board meeting of the IAEA in Vienna, where the United States has been trying to gather support for a resolution referring the issue to the U.N. Security Council.

"What I heard today told me that the option of referral of Iran to the Security Council remains on the agenda," said French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy.

Ahmadinejad offered to involve other nations and private firms in Irans's nuclear program. He said they could help contradict U.S. allegations that the country is trying to operate a covert nuclear weapons program.

Douste-Blazy seemed to dismiss that proposal, saying, "We do not see what the association of a third country to the Iranian program will add."

The EU-3 nations have offered assistance with other forms of energy and certain perks if Iran will abandon its nuclear program.

Iran walked away from the talks earlier this year and resumed uranium re-processing. The United States and the EU-3 said the move violated Iran's agreement to halt uranium enrichment.

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