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Straw Says EU Proposal for Iranian Nuclear Issue Still on Table

The EU proposal for resolving Iran's nuclear issue is still on the table, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said in New York after meeting with his Iranian, German and French counterparts on Thursday to discuss the controversial nuclear program.


Straw, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, and his German and French counterparts met with the new Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad late Thursday at the offices of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.


After the meeting, Straw told reporters that the proposal includes a series of economic incentives.


The UN spokesperson's office issued a statement, describing the meeting as "cordial discussions on the need to continue the negotiations on the nuclear issue in search of a mutually agreed solution."


"In that context, President Ahmadinejad reaffirmed his intention to put forward new proposals during his speech to the General Assembly on Saturday," the statement said.


Straw said the EU would make an assessment of the proposals to be announced by Ahmadinejad, who was elected Iran's president in June.


"We're going to listen carefully ... and make an assessment from there," Straw said.


Before meeting with Ahmadinejad, the foreign ministers of the EU troika held 80-minute talks with Iran's new foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, and its chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani.


These meetings took place on the sidelines of the UN 60th anniversary summit, which brings together more than 150 presidents, prime ministers and kings.


The US has accused Iran of seeking technology for developing nuclear weapons, a claim repeatedly denied by Teheran, which insists its nuclear program is designed for peaceful purposes.


(Xinhua News Agency September 16, 2005)


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