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. Iran denies nuclear talks with Israel
TEHRAN, Oct 22 (AFP) Oct 22, 2009
Iran's atomic energy organisation denied on Thursday that Iranian and Israeli experts held secret talks on regional nuclear issues, as announced by the Jewish state, state television's website reported.

"This lie is a kind of psychological operation designed to affect the constant success of Iran's dynamic diplomacy in the Geneva and Vienna meetings," the organisation's spokesman, Ali Shirzadian, was quoted as saying.

A spokeswoman for Israel's Atomic Energy Commission said on Thursday that commission representatives had held several meetings with an Iranian official to discuss nuclear issues in the region.

The spokeswoman declined to give details of the meetings, but the Haaretz daily said the officials discussed the chances of declaring the Middle East a nuclear-free zone.

The newspaper said Meirav Zafary-Odiz, director of policy and arms control for the Israeli commission, and Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's delegate to the International Atomic Energy Agency, met several times in Cairo at the end of September.

But the Iranian spokesman said the very idea of any sort of meeting with an Israeli representative was preposterous.

"The Islamic republic does not recognise the Zionist regime. Moreover it considers this regime a counterfeit and illegitimate one," Shirzadian said.

Israel is the Middle East's sole if undeclared nuclear-armed state.

Shirzadian said that throughout the September talks in Cairo held under the auspices of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation the Iranian delegation had spoken out against the Israeli arsenal.

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