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. Iran says US should keep away from nuclear talks
TEHRAN (AFP) Apr 17, 2005
The United States should remain a "spectator" in ongoing negotiations with Europe on Iran's nuclear programme, the Islamic republic's foreign ministry said on Sunday.

"For the moment, it's best for the Americans to follow the process from the grandstand as spectators, and leave negotiators to do their job," said spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi.

Talks with the European three of Britain, France and Germany in Geneva, due to resume Tuesday, "cannot drag on" and Iran will in any case resume uranium enrichment, Asefi told journalists.

Uranium enrichment is the the process for making nuclear fuel that can also be used for making the explosive core of a nuclear bomb.

"As we have already said, the decision to suspend (enrichment) was voluntary and temporary and can't last long," he said, referring to Tehran's decision late last year to suspend enrichment activity as a goodwill gesture.

"We think that negotiations must result rapidly in a conclusion and we will not let the Europeans waste time," he added.

Washington has repeatedly accused Tehran of seeking to manufacture a nuclear bomb and US President George W. Bush has not ruled out using military action.

On Thursday, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that Washington would give European efforts to reach an agreement with Tehran until the summer.

The United States has long been sceptical about the European attempt to persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions with economic and security incentives. But Washington embraced the idea after Bush's trip to Europe in February.

Asefi said Tuesday's talks would allow Iran to "see how serious the Europeans are".

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