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. US still skeptical of Iran nuclear talks
WASHINGTON (AFP) Jun 27, 2005
The United States supports European diplomacy to ensure Tehran does not develop nuclear weapons but is "skeptical" that it will succeed, the White House said Monday after Iran elected a hardline president.

"We continue to support the efforts of the European three," Britain, France and Germany, spokesman Scott McClellan said after ultra-conservative Mahmood Ahmadinejad said the Islamic Republic would pursue talks on its nuclear program.

"We will see on the negotiations. We have reason to be skeptical, we've stated that before," he said. "It remains to be seen what the true intentions of the unelected few that run (Iran) really are."

US President George W. Bush was to discuss the diplomatic efforts with visiting German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, said McClellan.

Inspectors from the UN nuclear watchdog were reportedly back at work in Iran on Monday as Tehran sought to allay international fears following Ahmadinejad's victory in polls Washington has sharply called into question.

The clerical regime insists it has a "right" to make nuclear fuel for peaceful purposes and is refusing to give up uranium enrichment technology -- but at the same time is sticking with the negotiations.

"Our concerns are that they have been pursuing nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian program. That's why we believe it's so important that there is an objective guarantee," said McClellan.

"That objective guarantee is that there is a permanent end to all uranium enrichment and reprocessing-related activity," the spokesman told reporters.

The European Union reiterated its commitment to nuclear talks with Iran Monday after the Islamic state's election of a hardline president, although it voiced "doubts" about how the polls were carried out.

And British Prime Minister Tony Blair warned that the European Union was not about to "go soft" with Tehran on the nuclear front after the election.

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