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Iran Ready for Negotiations, Says Spokesman


An Iranian foreign ministry spokesman says Tehran is ready to negotiate with world powers, but he says the discussion about Iran's nuclear program is a "closed case."

The semi-official Fars new agency quotes Ramin Mehman-Parast as saying Iran is ready to talk, but only about a negotiation package it submitted last year to the so-called P5+1 group. That group is comprised of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council - the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain - plus Germany.

Iran is facing calls by the United States and its allies for new sanctions against Tehran's nuclear program.

However, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday argued against the use of additional sanctions, telling the French newspaper Le Figaro that more sanctions will do little to resolve the dispute.

Turkey is a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council. Mr. Erdogan is visiting France, one of the Security Council's permanent members, for two days of talks starting Tuesday.

Iran has said its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. But the U.S. and its allies say Tehran's refusal to cooperate with international nuclear inspectors shows it is trying to pursue nuclear weapons.

Iran has announced it will host an international nuclear disarmament conference later this month. It says the two-day conference, scheduled to start April 17, is meant to promote nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

The Iranian conference will begin four days after an international nuclear security summit wraps up in Washington.

On Saturday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad again rejected U.S. efforts to engage Tehran in diplomacy on its nuclear program.

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

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