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UN Nuclear Chief Renews Appeal for Diplomatic Solution to Iran Crisis

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency has renewed an appeal for a diplomatic solution to the crisis over Iran's suspect nuclear program.

Speaking Thursday in Amsterdam, Mohamed ElBaradei welcomed the delay in a U.N. Security Council debate on whether to impose sanctions on Tehran. Western governments are seeking a Security Council resolution that would oblige Iran to halt all uranium enrichment work, or face sanctions.

ElBaradei said he hoped both sides will agree on a compromise to ensure that Iran has the right to peaceful nuclear technology. He also called on Iran to initiate confidence building measures with the international community.

Meanwhile, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he is ready to engage in a dialogue with anyone to resolve the standoff.

Speaking Thursday in Indonesia, Mr. Ahmadinejad said it was "ridiculous" for countries that already possess nuclear arsenals to pressure Iran to curb its peaceful nuclear program.

The United States accuses Tehran of using its nuclear program as a cover for developing an atomic bomb. Tehran insists it is seeking to generate electricity.

Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice endorsed a delay of several weeks in seeking U.N. sanctions against Tehran. She said the lull would give European negotiators time to develop an incentive package aimed at persuading Iran to stop enriching uranium voluntarily.

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