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Putin: Iran Ready to Enter Talks Soon


Russian President Vladimir Putin says Iran is responding positively to an international incentives offer to suspend sensitive nuclear work and enter negotiations on its nuclear program.

Mr. Putin spoke after meeting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Thursday on the sidelines of a Central Asian summit in China. Mr. Putin says Iran is ready to enter talks in the near future.

Mr. Putin says Iran has a right to nuclear energy but must address concerns about the intentions of its program.

Mr. Ahmadinejad called for Central Asian nations to support his country in the international dispute over its nuclear program. He said Iran is facing "aggressive interference" by "domineering powers" in the West.

The developments come as the 35-nation board of the International Atomic Energy Agency is discussing Iran's nuclear program.

In Tehran, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Iran will not abandon its nuclear research, calling it a fundamental and basic right.

Recent reports by the U.N. agency say Iran is continuing to obstruct inspections of its nuclear sites, which could eliminate doubts about the true nature of Tehran's nuclear program.

The U.S. delegate to the IAEA, Gregory Schulte, says the international community is in agreement that Iran has not taken the steps necessary to prove its nuclear program is entirely dedicated to peaceful objectives.

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

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