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. Iran rules out nuclear freeze
TEHRAN, July 1 (AFP) Jul 01, 2007
Iran on Sunday again ruled out a freeze to its uranium enrichment programme, despite the threat of tougher UN sanctions over its defiance.

"Suspending enrichment is not on the agenda," foreign ministry spokesman Mohamamd Ali Hosseini told reporters.

He was responding to media reports about a "time-out" proposed to Iran by world powers, which would halt a third set of UN sanctions against Tehran if it stopped expanding its uranium enrichment work, in a bid to restart talks.

"Some media and European officials have talked about a plan which includes suspending our nuclear activities. This is nothing new, it was brought up by the (International Atomic Energy) Agency chief," he said.

IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei had earlier proposed a plan which would lift sanctions against Iran if it froze all its enrichment activities.

Hosseini said that different aspects of the "time out" plan were discussed in meetings between Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

"No decisions have been made no far. If it is necessary, the plan will be further discussed," he said.

Iranian leaders vowed to press on with the country's nuclear programme, which is feared to be a cover for secret weapons development. Iran denies the allegation, insisting its atomic work is aimed at peaceful ends.

The UN Security Council has imposed two sets of sanctions against Iran for its refusal to suspend enrichment, a process which can be used to make nuclear fuel as well as atom bombs.

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