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Iran Says Talks with EU Must Pick Up to Reach Deal on Nuclear Program

A top Iranian official says talks with the European Union on Tehran's nuclear program must produce concrete results soon. The official, Foreign Minister Kamel Kharrazi, made his remarks in Luxembourg as a March deadline approaches for the negotiations to conclude. The European Union wants Iran to give up its uranium enrichment program in exchange for economic incentives.

The Iranian minister held discussions in Luxembourg, which holds the rotating EU presidency. Speaking to reporters afterward, Mr. Kharrazi said time is running short for an agreement.

"We have not lost all hope. We are doing our best," he said. "Both sides have to be more serious to arrive to conclusions that would be taken as concrete and tangible results by mid-March."

The Iranian minister met with Nicolas Schmit, Luxembourg's minister delegate for foreign affairs, who held out hope for the success of the EU negotiations.

"I think we have to be optimistic," he said. "The deadline is March, end of March. So we still have some weeks at our disposal. I think negotiations have been performed last week, they will resume very soon."

EU members France, Britain and Germany have been in negotiations with Iran to persuade it to drop its uranium enrichment program, which could be used for weapons, in return for economic and trade incentives.

Iran has repeatedly said its program is for peaceful purposes, but the United States accuses Tehran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said that Tehran must accept terms offered by the

European Union or be taken to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions.