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ElBaradei Welcomes Delay in Decision on Sanctions on Iran


The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency has welcomed the delay in a U.N. Security Council debate on whether to impose sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program.

Speaking in Amsterdam Thursday, Mohamed ElBaradei said he remained optimistic that all sides will move away from the war of words and allow for a diplomatic solution rather than a standoff over Iran's uranium enrichment activities.

Key Security Council members this week agreed to postpone a resolution on Iran, giving the European Union more time to seek a solution to the crisis.

Three EU countries - Britain, France and Germany - are preparing incentives for Iran go give up its nuclear ambitions. They are expected to present them to Iran within weeks, along with the threat of sanctions.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says Washington supports the European effort.

In an interview with Indonesian television Thursday Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he would be willing to hold talks on the issue with anyone, including the United States. But he said it is ridiculous for nuclear powers to pressure Iran to give up what he says is a peaceful nuclear program.

The United States and much of the West suspect Iran of planning to build nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is for civilian energy use.

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