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US should drop preconditions for Iran talks, says Hans Blix

London, March 12, IRNA - Former director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Hans Blix is repeating his call for the second time in a week to drop US-led demands for Iran to unconditionally suspend its enrichment program.

"I am saying drop your demand for preconditions," said Blix, who was also the UN's top arms inspector for Iraq ahead of the US-led invasion.

"That's what prevents you from sitting down with the Iranians.

The Iranians say, 'We are ready to sit down, we are ready to discuss the question of enrichment'," he said.

In an interview with Sky News being broadcast ahead of the fourth anniversary of the Iraq war, the former IAEA chief suggested that the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany should accept Iran's offer.

"I think it's a silly diplomatic dance about a tactical advantage and they should find a diplomatic way out of that," he said about the demands.

Blix, who now chairs the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission, warned last week that it was "illogical to ask Iran to suspend its enrichment program before any diplomatic negotiations take place about the conditions for the suspension."

"It is time for serious talk - not for humiliating preconditions," he said in the foreword to a new report by Oxford Research Group, exposing the fallacies of threatening attacks on Iran's installations.

In his interview with Sky, the former arms inspector again criticized British Prime Minister Tony Blair for "exercising spin" ahead of the 2003 Iraq war.

"There were question marks but they changed them to exclamation marks. And I think they got the political punishment for that," he said about the government's discredited arms dossier that was used to justify the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime.

Blix also warned that there was a lot of confidence lost not only in Blair but also in US President George W Bush. The Iraq war, he said was "clearly illegal."

... Payvand News - 3/12/07 ... --

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