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World Powers Renew Invitation to Iran to Restart Nuclear Talks


The reactor building of the Bushehr nuclear power plant is seen, just outside the southern city of Bushehr, Iran, 21 Aug 2010

The reactor building of the Bushehr nuclear power plant is seen, just outside the southern city of Bushehr, Iran, 21 Aug 2010

Six world powers are renewing efforts to get Iran to resume stalled talks about its disputed nuclear program, after not getting any formal response to an earlier invitation.

European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton, who represents the world powers, asked Iran on Friday to respond promptly to the offer to hold three days of talks in Vienna, Austria. The meetings, scheduled for November 15 to 17, would be with officials from the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany.

Earlier this month, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran would welcome a new round of talks about its nuclear program. But he also warned that his government would not give up any of its international rights. Iran has not formally responded to the first invitation presented on October 14.

The U.S. and other world powers suspect that Iran is creating nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful uses.

Iran is under four sets of United Nations sanctions for its refusal to stop enriching uranium. The EU and several countries have also imposed their own penalties on Iran.

Ashton said the Vienna talks could start with a dinner on November 15, followed by two days of consultations.

The meetings would focus on a nuclear swap proposal introduced last year. Under that plan, Iran would swap low-enriched uranium for uranium fuel rods that would be used in a medical research reactor.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Friday urged Iran to accept the invitation for the meetings. He said Russia would welcome a resumption of the negotiations that have not been held since October 2009.

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

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