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Iranian Media: Iran Not Ready to Negotiate With US


A semi-official Iranian news agency reports that Iran is not ready to negotiate with the United States at a major international conference on Iraq, to be held this week in Egypt.

The Iranian Students News Agency, ISNA quotes Iranian officials as saying conditions are not right for talks between the two nations.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said this week she would not rule out meeting with Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on the sidelines of the two-day conference, which opens Thursday in Egypt's Sharm el-Sheikh resort.

The United States has accused Iran of aiding and training extremist groups in Iraq, a charge Tehran denies.

Egypt's official news agency, MENA said 49 countries have confirmed they will attend the conference, which will focus on improving security in Iraq and stabilizing the country.

Meanwhile, U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says Rice will participate in an informal meeting after the conference with members of the quartet on Middle East peace and an Arab delegation.

The spokesman says officials from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria will brief the quartet (the U.S., the European Union, the United Nations and Russia) on a peace plan revived by Arab leaders at a summit in March.

The 2002 plan offers Israel normal relations if it withdraws from land seized in the 1967 Six-Day war. Israel has stopped short of welcoming the revived plan.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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