Iranian president: Holding nuclear talks “step forward”

By Xinhua,

Tehran : Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Sunday said holding any talks over Iran’s nuclear programs was considered “a step forward,” the official IRNA news agency reported.

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Ahmadinejad’s words came as high-level talks between six major countries and Iran over its controversial nuclear programs staged in Geneva, Switzerland on Saturday.

The talks were held between Iranian top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili and European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Javier Solana, in the presence of U.S. Undersecretary of State William Burns and senior diplomats from China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany.

Solana told a press conference after the talks that “there is always progress in these talks, but insufficient,” adding the one-day meeting was “constructive.”

He voiced hope that the long-running Iran nuclear issue should be solved through cooperation instead of confrontation.

However, U.S. spokesman Sean McCormack warned after the talks that Iran should either accept the incentives, or face “further isolation.”

Ahmadinejad rejected any threats against the Islamic Republic, saying the country would continue its nuclear drive.

“We expect threats and hostility from the enemies side, but we are getting stronger day by day and keep moving forward,” IRNA quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.

The United States and its allies accused Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian nuclear program. Iran denied the U.S. charges and insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.