September 11, 2006, RFE/RL -- U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has reiterated that Iran must halt its nuclear activities before the West opens negotiations on an incentive program.
But speaking today in Canada, Rice did leave open the possibility of talking during a temporary suspension by Tehran.
Earlier, the UN's nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA), welcomed reports of progress in talks between the European Union and Iran over Tehran's disputed uranium-enrichment program.
IAEA Director-General Muhammad el-Baradei said he was "encouraged that there is ongoing dialogue" with Iran.
EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana and Iranian negotiator Ali Larijani said they made progress at the weekend toward formal negotiations to end a stalemate over Tehran's pursuit of technology that could yield nuclear weapons.
Larijani praised the outcome of the negotiations on Iranian state television today,saying: "Some of the ambiguities were removed and also agreements were reached on some principles. These principles are constructive and it shows that our common points are increasing. This is very helpful in resolving the issue."
Reports quote unnamed diplomats as saying Larijani offered a two-month enrichment freeze during talks with Solana. Iranian officials denied the reports.
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