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. World powers still want Iran nuclear talks: Rice
BRUSSELS, March 6 (AFP) Mar 06, 2008
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice insisted Thursday that world powers would continue to offer Iran incentives to get it to suspend uranium enrichment, even after Iran rejected further talks.

"The six ... continue to follow a dual track strategy," she told reporters at NATO headquarters, referring to the pursuit of sanctions at the United Nations and the offer of talks led by EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

"We are continuing to talk about what the path would look like for Iran, should it choose the path of negotiation," Rice said.

"There's is a lot on the table, the Iranians want to know more about it, or want to know in greater depth what those elements mean," she said in reference to an offer long on the table that the Islamic republic has rejected.

Solana has, for more than 18 months, been trying to persuade Tehran to suspend uranium enrichment in exchange for a vast package of political, trade and economic incentives.

As he held out this diplomatic carrot, pressure has mounted at the UN Security Council, which has slapped three sets of sanctions on Iran.

But Tehran maintains that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes.

It has refused to suspend enrichment -- a process to fuel an atomic reactor which, at highly refined levels, could be used to make a bomb -- as a precondition for starting talks on the offer.

On Wednesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rejected any new talks with Solana, saying Tehran would in the future negotiate only with the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

"Iran will not negotiate with anyone outside the (UN atomic) agency with regard to its nuclear issue," he said, according to state news agency IRNA.

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