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EU, US Slam Iran's Stalling on Nuclear Program Talks


US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, right, and EU Foreign Policy chief Catherine Ashton, walk in together before the signing of US-EU framework at the State Dept. Building in Washington, May 17, 2011

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, right, and EU Foreign Policy chief Catherine Ashton, walk in together before the signing of US-EU framework at the State Dept. Building in Washington, May 17, 2011

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has demanded that Iran end its "stalling tactics" and return to talks with international leaders on its controversial nuclear program.

Clinton said after a meeting with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton Tuesday that the burden still remains on Iran to address international concerns about its nuclear ambitions.

Ashton said she would like to see a new round of talks but does not anticipate that happening soon, based on a note she received last week from Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili.

In the letter, Jalili urged the six world powers to restart nuclear talks, which stalled in January when Iran refused to discuss international demands to freeze its uranium enrichment program. He wrote that the next round of dialogue should be based on "respect for Iran's rights and avoidance of pressure."

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Tuesday Iran had announced its "readiness" for negotiations and was waiting on "the other side" to agree to talks.

Jalili's message was in response to a letter Ashton sent to Iran in February on behalf of the major powers, which consists of Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.

Iran is under international sanctions because of its enrichment activities that the United States and its allies suspect are weapons-related. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

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

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