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Annan Says Talks with Larijani Constructive
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Visiting UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said on Saturday that his meeting with Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani was constructive and satisfactory, Iran's ISNA news agency reported.

Speaking to reporters after the closed-door meeting, Annan said that he discussed with Larijani regional issues and Iran's nuclear issue which are of interest to both Iran and the United Nations. "The talks were very helpful and would assist me in my forthcoming tasks," Annan said.

"The UN and I are much concerned about what is going on in Mideast and that's why we are in need of Iran's assistance and support," he said.

Larijani, for his part, termed the talk as constructive, saying Annan's view on Iran's nuclear issue was positive.

"Our response to the six-nation package was based on Mr. Annan's advice, the responsibility of Mr. Annan either with respect to regional issues or with Iran's nuclear program is highly serious and sensitive, hence there is a need for continuous negotiations," Larijani said.

"Mr. Annan's view on Iran's nuclear issue is positive and we will support his efforts," he said.

The two sides also stressed the necessity of talks and negotiations as a means to sole Iran's nuclear dispute.

Annan arrived in Tehran earlier in the day for talks with senior Iranian officials on Iran's nuclear dispute and a truce on Lebanon.

"I'm happy to be here again, I'm here to discuss implementation of (UN Security Council) Resolution 1701 on the issue of Lebanon," Annan told reporters after his arrival at Tehran's Mehrabad International Airport.

"But I will also talk about issues concerned to the region and to the international community. Now I'm looking forward to the talks with Iran's leaders," he added.

Annan, who is on a 10-day visit to the Middle East, will stay in Iran for two days.

Annan's visit came just two days after Iran failed to meet a UN deadline for it to halt uranium enrichment before Aug. 31.

On Thursday, International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohammed ElBaradei presented a report to the UN Security Council, saying "Iran has continued enriching uranium despite a UN nuclear deadline for it to suspend or face possible sanctions."

Iran, however, claims that it would not give in "one iota" on its nuclear right and would never bend to international pressure on the nuclear issue.

(Xinhua News Agency September 3, 2006)

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