Iran ready for N-talks sans preconditions

Iranian officials have made clear that the country is not prepared to stop enriching uranium as a precondition for entering talks with six world powers.

india Updated: Jun 17, 2006 10:32 IST

Iran sees "positive points" in offers from world powers aimed at a compromise on Tehran's nuclear programme and is ready to discuss them but talks need to begin without preconditions, a senior Iranian official said here on Friday.

"Negotiations must be without preconditions," Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqshi said at a news conference.

"Those posing conditions in advance want to have results in advance and in this case negotiations cannot be fair and non-discriminatory," Araqshi said.

Iranian officials have made clear that the country is not prepared to stop enriching uranium as a precondition for entering talks with six world powers, including the United States, on a package of incentives aimed at encouraging Iran to forego highly sensitive nuclear work.

The United States says Iran is secretly trying to build nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian nuclear power programme.

Tehran denies the accusation, but insists that it has the same right as any country to develop its own nuclear power.

"We are sure there are many positive points" in the package of incentives crafted by the five UN Security Council permanent members and Germany. "But there remain a few things we do not understand," Araqshi said.

"We regard the fact that various countries want to sit down at the negotiating table as positive. We are prepared to start negotiations," he added.

Araqshi was in Almaty where Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was scheduled to join more than a dozen other leaders for a regional summit.

First Published: Jun 16, 2006 17:03 IST