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US Official: Top American Diplomat to Attend Talks With Iran

By VOA News

A senior U.S. official says the United States will send a top diplomat to participate in talks with Iran about Tehran's nuclear program at a meeting Saturday in Geneva.

In a shift in long-standing policy, the official said Undersecretary of State William Burns will join a meeting with Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, and European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

The U.S has previously refused to attend any talks with Tehran on its nuclear program until it stops enriching uranium.

The American official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, stressed that Burns will not negotiate during his visit and will not hold separate meetings with the Iranians.

He said Burns will reiterate the Bush administration's position that Iran must suspend uranium enrichment before the United States can enter into serious negotiations with the country.

Earlier this week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the meeting in Geneva will focus on what he called "common points" of the proposals made by six world powers and Iran to settle the nuclear dispute.

Mr. Ahmadinejad also said talks with the United States on Iran's nuclear program are possible in the near future.

Iranian state-run media quoted Mr. Ahmadinejad as saying he would welcome such talks if they are conducted in fair conditions. But Mr. Ahmadinejad reiterated his rejection of any preconditions for resuming negotiations with world powers.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

Iran seeks equality in nuclear talks

Source: Press TV

Iran has told six European powers that it will not participate in negotiations over its nuclear program from a position of inequality.

In a July 4 letter, which was published on a French website Tuesday, Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said that Tehran would not give up the right to produce its own nuclear fuel, but would be willing to negotiate a broader peace and security deal.

The letter was a response to an unofficial letter presented to Iran June 14 on behalf of six European powers alongside a package of incentives drawn up by the permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, the G5+1.

"We have no intention of changing this path," said the three-page, English-language version of Mottaki's letter, referring to the country's quest for a nuclear fuel industry.

"The world has changed ... The people of Iran have worked out plans for the advancement of their country without asking for help from others," the letter added.

Mottaki also pointed out that the pressure to end the country's program was 'illegal' as the UN nuclear watchdog had found nothing to indicate diversion in Iran's enrichment activities.

His letter, however, said that there were 'similarities' between an earlier Iranian proposal for comprehensive talks and the G5+1 offer of incentives - similarities which could form the basis for pre-negotiations.

Long-term peace and security in the Middle East and other regions of the world can only be achieved through such a comprehensive approach, said Mottaki.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently renewed his pledge not to suspend the uranium enrichment program ahead of a July 19 meeting between the country's Chief Nuclear Negotiator Saeed Jalili, and EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana.

... Payvand News - 07/16/08 ... --

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