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Iran Rejects Deadline to Respond to Incentives on Halting Nuclear Program


Iran has again rejected a deadline to respond to an international offer aimed at resolving a standoff over its controversial nuclear program.

The latest rejectionSunday comes three days after Group of Eight foreign ministers gave Tehran one week to provide a "clear and substantive response" to a Western package of incentives aimed at persuading Iran to suspend uranium enrichment.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told a weekly news conference Sunday Tehran still would not respond before next month. He said Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, would meet European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana Wednesday.

Iranian officials have said they need more time to clarify what they call ambiguities in the proposal put forward by the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany.

Iranian officials say various committees are looking at different parts of the package.

The United States and many of its European allies believe Iran is planning to build nuclear weapons. Iran insists its nuclear program is strictly for peaceful civilian purposes.

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