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. Iran says its nuclear proposal shows its 'seriousness'
TEHRAN (AFP) Mar 24, 2005
Iran said Thursday that a proposal it has given the European Union on easing international concerns over its nuclear programme has shown the Islamic republic's "seriousness" in resolving the issue.

Speaking to the official news agency IRNA, foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said Wednesday's talks in Paris "were serious and complex, but useful."

"In this round the Iranian delegation put forward ideas for reaching objective and firm guarantees in order to settle the issue," he said.

"These ideas show the Islamic republic of Iran's seriousness in building confidence. These negotiations can, cautiously, be described as constructive. The talks will continue in the weeks ahead."

Aesfi did not elaborate on the Iranian proposal, but in Paris officials and diplomats said Tehran had asked to be able to continue producing enriched uranium on a small scale and at a level needed for civilian use. This idea was being examined, the sources said.

Britain, France and Germany are engaged in a diplomatic effort aimed at securing "objective guarantees" from Iran that it will not seek nuclear weapons, and in return are offering a package of incentives.

But the sticking point is the enrichment of uranium, a process that can make fuel for atomic energy reactors but also the core of a nuclear weapon.

The Europeans would prefer Iran to abandon its nuclear fuel cycle work altogether, but Iran is so far standing by what it says is a right to be able to fully exploit peaceful nuclear technology.

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