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Iran says ball in major powers' court on nuke talks

Iran said on Tuesday that the ball was in the court of the six major powers that have been trying to resolve concerns over its nuclear programme after it expressed readiness for new talks

AFP , Tuesday 17 May 2011
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"Our talks with the 5+1 depends on the other side, we've announced our readiness," foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said, referring to the five veto-wielding permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany.

"The condition for the talks has been outlined by our negotiating team. It will be about the common points," Mehmanparast added, without elaborating on what they were.

While the six powers want to focus on the Iranian nuclear programme, Tehran wants to expand the discussions to issues such as global security and nuclear disarmament, Israel's undeclared but widely suspected nuclear arsenal and the right of all countries to civil nuclear cooperation.

"Our stance has been defined by Dr. (Saeed) Jalili to Lady (Catherine) Ashton. Anytime they are ready, we are ready to continue," Mehmanparast said, referring to Iran's top nuclear negotiator and the European Union's top diplomat, who represents the powers in the talks.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Sunday that Iran was "ready for a dialogue" with the powers on the nuclear issue and hoped that future meetings would yield results.

In a letter to Ashton earlier this month, Iran reprised it conditions for a resumption of talks.

Last week, a spokeswoman for Ashton said that Iran's letter "does not contain anything new and does not seem to justify a further meeting."
The two sides met in Geneva in December and in Istanbul in January but both meetings ended without progress.

The major powers are seeking to allay suspicions that Iran's nuclear programme is cover for a drive for an atomic bomb, an ambition Tehran strongly denies.

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