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Iran’s answer: NO

Stephen Beard Jun 1, 2006

SCOTT JAGOW: One of the x-factors in the price of oil right now is Iran — of course, a big player. The US has offered to hold talks with that country about its nuclear program. But only if Iran promises to stop developing weapons-grade uranium first. Iran’s answer: N-O. Here’s Stephen Beard.

STEPHEN BEARD: The Iranian Foreign Minister says Iran is ready to talk to the US, but it won’t first give up what he calls “Our nation’s natural right to develop nuclear fuels.” The US and its European allies believe that Iran is seeking to make an atomic bomb. The US offer of direct talks with Tehran — the first for more than 25 years — was a dramatic move, says analyst Neil Patrick. But it has almost certainly failed:

NEIL PATRICK: There is an interest that both sides have to try to find a way out of the problem. But I just don’t think that this particular approach, at this particular stage, is going to resolve it.

Neither is he hopeful that today’s meeting of major powers in Vienna will make a breakthrough. The US and other countries, inluding China and Russia, are expected to offer economic incentives to persuade Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions. In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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