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. Iran's former nuclear negotiator meets German foreign minister
BERLIN, Sept 19 (AFP) Sep 19, 2007
Iran's former top nuclear negotiator held talks with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin on Wednesday about Tehran's standoff with the international community, a spokesman said.

Hassan Rowhani and Steinmeier discussed "bilateral relations and the nuclear row," foreign ministry spokesman Martin Jaeger said, declining to give further details.

The talks come amid soaring tensions over Iran's nuclear programme and pressure from the United States and France for tougher UN sanctions against Tehran, which the West suspects of seeking atomic weapons.

Germany and the five UN Security Council permanent members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- are due to discuss the next diplomatic steps to try to break the deadlock with Iran on Friday.

Rowhani, a moderate cleric, led Iran's nuclear negotiating team under reformist president Mohammad Khatami but was replaced in 2005 when hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became the new head of state.

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