Iran Nuclear NewsU.S. waits for Iran's formal response to nuclear offer

U.S. waits for Iran’s formal response to nuclear offer

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Reuters: The United States does not consider comments on Thursday by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to be Iran’s formal response to a major power offer of talks and incentives on the nuclear issue, a U.S. official said. WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States does not consider comments on Thursday by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to be Iran’s formal response to a major power offer of talks and incentives on the nuclear issue, a U.S. official said.

Asking not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the diplomacy, he also told Reuters the comments by Iran’s president gave no sign that Tehran is prepared to suspend uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities, the central condition of the major power offer.

The United States “will withhold any reaction until we hear the formal response through Solana,” the official said, referring to European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who presented the major powers offer to Iran on Tuesday.

Asked whether the Bush administration viewed Ahmadinejad’s comments on Thursday to be positive, the official replied: “They have a couple of times now talked about an interest in negotiations but still have not made a commitment to the conditions for negotiations.”

“The ball is still in Iran’s court,” he added.

Ahmadinejad said Thursday threats would not work in any talks to solve a dispute over the country’s nuclear program but said Iran was ready to clear up misunderstandings with the world.

He said Iran was not willing to abandon its nuclear “rights” — usually shorthand in Iran for uranium enrichment — but some analysts said his speech reflected a greater readiness in Tehran to hold talks over the country’s atomic ambitions.

The United States is leading an international drive to stop what it says is Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon. Iran, which is the world’s fourth largest oil exporter, says its nuclear programs are for peaceful power generation to meet the energy demand from its growing population.

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