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. Iran says world powers seek its aid to solve issues
TEHRAN, April 14 (AFP) Apr 14, 2009
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday that world powers were seeking the Islamic republic's help in solving global issues, which he hoped was an acknowledgement of Tehran's status.

His comments came amid reports the United States could scrap its demand that Iran stop enriching uranium in the early stages of expected talks on Tehran's nuclear programme between world powers and the Islamic republic.

"Those who put conditions on us are now accepting the greatness of the Iranian nation," Ahmadinejad said in an address to visiting expatriate Iranians.

"Now they are saying... welcome and let us solve the world issues together."

The hardline president said he hoped the world powers led by Washington were "sincere in their talk and have truly understood the real status of the Iranian nation. All this happened due to the solidarity and courage of the Iranian people."

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that US and European diplomats have considered allowing Iran to continue enriching uranium for a time while talks on the country's nuclear drive get off the ground, a sharp shift in policy.

The administration of former president George W. Bush had insisted that Iran mothball its enrichment programme before talks begin, amid fears that the activities may be part of a nuclear weapons programme.

Tehran has long rejected that proposal, arguing it had a legitimate right to run a civil nuclear programme -- including the enrichment of uranium -- under international law.

"We have all agreed that is simply not going to work -- experience tells us the Iranians are not going to buy it," the New York Times quoted a European diplomat as saying.

If approved the shift in tactics is likely to provoke an outcry in Israel, which claims Iran is trying to prevaricate while it continues to build a nuclear weapon.

Enriched uranium is used to fuel nuclear power stations but can also be used to make the core of an atomic bomb.

The so-called P5-plus-1 -- the permanent five members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany -- have long offered Iran trade, financial and other incentives in return for halting its uranium enrichment programme.

But so far Tehran has refused, leaving diplomatic efforts deadlocked.

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