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Iran: Talks With World Powers Will Not Involve Nuclear Program

Iran's envoy to the U.N. nuclear agency says any talks with world powers will not address Iran's controversial nuclear program.

Iranian media Thursday quote Ali Asghar Soltanieh as saying Iran is prepared to hold talks on such issues as the peaceful use of nuclear energy and preventing nuclear arms proliferation. He says Iran will continue enriching uranium.

Soltanieh made his comments at a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.

On Wednesday, Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki handed over a new Iranian nuclear proposal to representatives of the European Union and six world powers discussing Iran's nuclear program - the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany.

Contents of the proposal were not disclosed, but Iranian state radio said Tehran is ready to help ease international concerns about its nuclear program.

U.S. officials said on Wednesday the United States will seriously consider the Iranian proposal. The State Department reiterated the Obama administration's readiness for direct engagement with Iran after a diplomatic break of 30 years, but said the choice is up to the Iranian government.

The Obama administration has indicated Iran will face harsher international sanctions, possibly targeting critical imports of refined petroleum products, if it does not accept good-faith negotiations by the end of this month.

Also Wednesday, U.S. envoy Glyn Davies told the International Atomic Energy Agency's board that Iran may already have accumulated enough enriched uranium to produce one nuclear weapon.

The U.N. Security Council has imposed three sets of sanctions on Iran for its refusal to halt uranium enrichment, a process that can be used to make nuclear weapons.

The United States and its Western allies accuse Iran of working to produce a nuclear weapon. Iran says its atomic program is for peaceful purposes.

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