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Top Level Western Meeting on Iran Nuclear Standoff Postponed


A top-level six-nation meeting of world powers planned for Friday on the Iranian nuclear standoff has been postponed.

Diplomats from Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the United States were to have considered inducements that would reward Iran for ending its uranium enrichment work, and threaten penalties if it refuses. Britain's Foreign Office says the meeting will take place within the next 10 days.

Earlier Wednesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ridiculed a potential European offer of a light water nuclear reactor, if Tehran ends its uranium enrichment work.

Mr. Ahmadinejad compared the offer to giving a child walnuts and chocolate in exchange for gold. He also said Iran may withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty if the West continues to demand an end to what he insists are Iran's peaceful nuclear ambitions.

Western powers suspect Iran is enriching uranium to make nuclear weapons. Tehran denies the charges.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov repeated Russia's opposition to the threat of sanctions or the use of force to compel Iran's compliance with Western demands. But he also said Iran should respond constructively to Western proposals aimed at ending the standoff.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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