Iran Nuclear NewsRice open to talks if Iran suspends nuclear work

Rice open to talks if Iran suspends nuclear work

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Reuters: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Monday Iran must suspend its nuclear activities before the West would open negotiations on an incentive program, but she left open the possibility of talking during a temporary suspension by Tehran. HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Monday Iran must suspend its nuclear activities before the West would open negotiations on an incentive program, but she left open the possibility of talking during a temporary suspension by Tehran.

“The point is there would have to be a suspension. If there is a suspension, we can have discussions but there has to be a suspension and, as far as I know, the Iranians have not yet said that they would suspend prior to negotiations, which is what the issue has been,” Rice told reporters as she flew to Canada.

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Iranian negotiator Ali Larijani said they had made progress in weekend talks to explore a basis for formal negotiations to end a stalemate over Tehran’s pursuit of technology that could yield atom bombs.

An EU diplomat said Larijani offered a two-month enrichment freeze during seven hours of discussions with Solana in Vienna that both sides described as constructive.

Asked about the offer of a two-month freeze, Rice appeared to leave open the door to starting talks during a temporary suspension of Iran’s nuclear enrichment and reprocessing activities.

“Suspension, verified suspension, that’s the condition,” she said. “As to time limitations, I don’t — I haven’t heard any Iranian offer so I don’t know what to make of that but the question is: are they prepared to suspend, verifiably, so that negotiations can begin. That’s the issue,” she said.

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