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. EU, Iran mull experts meeting 'soon' on nuclear issue
BRUSSELS, April 23 (AFP) Apr 23, 2009
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Iranian negotiator Said Jalili have discussed holding an experts meeting "soon" on resuming international talks on Tehran's nuclear drive, an EU spokeswoman said Thursday.

Solana, who negotiates on the issue on behalf of world powers, and Jalili "spoke briefly yesterday (Wednesday) evening after the statement from Tehran," which said it was ready for "constructive dialogue," Solana spokeswoman Cristina Gallach told AFP.

"They discussed the possibility of organising an experts' meeting soon," she added.

Earlier Wednesday Iran had responded favourably to a call from major powers to resume dialogue on its controversial nuclear programme, while reaffirming that it would continue with its activities in the sector.

Western powers fear that Iran's nuclear drive could be a cover for efforts to build an atomic bomb, but Tehran insists it is aimed purely at generating electricity for a growing population.

"By updating last year's package, the Islamic republic is announcing its readiness for constructive dialogue and interaction," Jalili was quoted as saying by Iranian news agencies.

"The Islamic republic will continue its nuclear activities in an active interaction with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), within the framework of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and its regulations like other members," added Jalali, Iran's top nuclear negotiator.

Last week Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tehran's own package of proposals would be presented to the six negotiating powers -- UN Security Council veto-wielding permanent members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany.

He said the package was a new version of proposals offered by Iran in May 2008, which proposed the formation of consortiums to enrich uranium and manufacture nuclear fuel, including one in Iran.

The international group of six's nuclear dialogue with Iran has been on hold since last September.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday the Obama administration is prepared to push for tough sanctions against Iran if the new dialogue fails.

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