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Report: Iran bid to restart talks

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Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

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TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Iran's chief nuclear negotiator has contacted three European nations to re-start negotiations over its nuclear program, Iranian state-run news agency IRNA said Sunday.

Ali Larijani, the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, wrote to leaders of Britain, France, and Germany emphasizing "the necessity of conducting negotiations," the report said.

Britain's foreign office confirmed that leaders of the three nations received a letter Sunday from Iranian officials. The office would not comment on the letter's content.

Iran broke off talks with the so-called EU-3 earlier this year, saying the demand that it stop its nuclear program altogether was unacceptable.

Iran insists its program is purely for energy purposes, but the United States argues Iran is using the program as a guise to try to develop nuclear weapons.

The IRNA report did not say that Iran had changed its stance on previous offers made by the EU-3.

But it said Larijani's letter said he had "assessed" the previous negotiations "and has welcomed logical and constructive negotiations within the framework of international laws and regulations."

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan planned to visit Iran this month, in a trip largely aimed at re-starting the stalled talks.

But Annan canceled the trip after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent assertion that Israel should be "wiped" off the map."

Annan decided it was "not an appropriate time" for him to go to Iran, citing the "ongoing controversy" over the remarks made last week, according to a statement from the secretary-general's spokesman, Stephane Dujarric.

On October 26, Ahmadinejad demanded the Jewish state be "wiped off the map." He has since defended the call, which drew international criticism.

Annan expressed "dismay" last week over the remarks in a rare rebuke of a U.N. member state.

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