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Iran ready to resolve dispute over nuclear program, with conditions

By the CNN Wire Staff
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he is ready to answer questions about his country's nuclear program.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he is ready to answer questions about his country's nuclear program.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Iran faces sanctions for not cooperating with international bodies on its nuclear program
  • Tehran says it's ready to talk about the program as soon as September
  • Iran sends a letter to the U.N. nuclear watchdog, saying it's ready to start talks
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(CNN) -- Iran is ready for "effective cooperation" to resolve the dispute over its nuclear program, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in an interview with state media.

"We said that we will talk with P5+1 as of early September, but there are some conditions," Ahmadinejad told Press TV on Monday. "One of the conditions is that others should be present in the discussions as well."

The P5+1 consists of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- the United States, Russia, China, France and United Kingdom -- and Germany.

The Iranian leader said the conditions for talks include the P5+1 members announcing their positions on Israel having nuclear weapons. Jerusalem has neither confirmed nor denied that it has a nuclear weapons program.

"With respect to the negotiations, they should announce whether they are after friendship or animosity. They should come and tell us if the aim of the talks is friendship or animosity."Ahmadinejad said. "And they should announce whether they follow logic or force and resolutions in the negotiations."

Tehran has been hit with a string of sanctions from the Security Council and the European Union for not cooperating on its nuclear program.

Ahmadinejad's interview came on the same day Iran submitted a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency, proposing to restart limited talks on an exchange of nuclear fuel.

Iran's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, told the official Islamic Republic News Agency Monday that the letter indicated that Iran was ready to start talks.

"Through submitting an official letter, I expressed to the Islamic Republic of Iran's readiness to engage in negotiations over fuel [provisions] for the Tehran nuclear reactor," Soltanieh said. "Our very clear message was that we are ready for negotiations and meeting over fuel for the Tehran reactor."

Sunday's hour-long talks in Turkey among Iran, Turkey and Brazil were aimed at rebooting stalled negotiations over Iran's nuclear program. It was the first time officials from the three governments had met since May, when they signed an atomic fuel swap agreement that was criticized by Washington and other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.

Under the proposal, Iran would send 1,200 kilograms (2,645 pounds) of low-enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for 120 kilograms (265 pounds) of 20 percent-enriched uranium provided by Western governments.

Iran has rebuffed international demands that it halt its uranium enrichment program, insisting that it wants the nuclear fuel for peaceful uses. In low concentrations, enriched uranium can be used to fuel civilian power plants -- but in extremely high concentrations, it can be used to produce a nuclear bomb.

Iran announced in February that it wanted to produce enriched uranium at a 20 percent concentration for use in a medical research reactor. The United States has accused Iran of working toward nuclear weapons, while the atomic energy agency has called for increased safeguards at the Iranian enrichment plant at Natanz to ensure it is not concealing nuclear material.

In May, the leaders of Brazil, Turkey and Iran appeared to catch Western governments off-guard when they met after marathon negotiations to sign the "Tehran Declaration."

Despite the agreement, permanent members of the United Nations Security Council pushed forward with a fresh round of sanctions to punish Iran.

Brazil and Turkey, which hold temporary seats on the Security Council, broke with their traditional Western allies and voted against the sanctions.

 
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