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Iran ready for nuclear talks ‘without conditions’ – official

By RIA Novosti,

Moscow : Iran is ready to hold talks with the West on its nuclear program without any preliminary conditions, a high-ranking Iranian official said on Tuesday.

“Iran’s main position on talks regarding [the country’s] nuclear program is that discussions should be held without any preliminary conditions,” said Ali Ashgar Soltanieh, Iran’s representative at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The United States and other Western countries accuse Iran of developing nuclear weapons under its peaceful nuclear program. Tehran has denied the accusations, saying its nuclear program is for civilian energy purposes only.

Iran is under a series of UN Security Council sanctions amid demands that it cease enriching uranium that could possibly used for the development of nuclear arms.

At the beginning of April, the Group of Six (Germany, China, the US, France, Britain, and Russia) asked Iran to return to the negotiation table to discuss its nuclear program, and the G8 countries reiterated the request in July, calling for Tehran to return to talks before September. World leaders will again review Iran’s nuclear program during a G20 summit scheduled September 24-25 in Pittsburgh.

Experts believe that Iran will in the near future acquire the capacity to build a nuclear bomb and conduct a nuclear test similar to the one carried out by North Korea in May.

Tehran announced in late February that it had 6,000 operating centrifuges at its Natanz uranium enrichment facility and was planning to install a total of 50,000 over the next five years.