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US Official: Iran's Response to Nuclear Offer Expected Next Week

A top U.S. diplomat says Washington expects Iran to give its formal response next week to an international offer of incentives for Tehran to suspend uranium enrichment and return to nuclear talks with the West.

Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns told reporters in Brussels Friday he expects an Iranian response at a meeting between its chief negotiator Ali Larijani and European Union foreign policy chief, Javier Solana. That meeting is set for Wednesday, July 5.

However, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said at the United Nations Thursday that no one should expect an answer from Tehran until August.

He said Iran needs more time to clarify what he calls ambiguities in the proposal put forward by the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany.

Group of Eight foreign ministers meeting in Moscow Thursday also said they want a "clear and substantive" Iranian response by next week.

The United States and many of its European allies believe Iran is working to build nuclear weapons. Iran denies the charge.

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