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Iran's president rejects nuclear 'freeze' proposal

Reuters / May 26, 2009
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TEHRAN - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yesterday rejected a Western proposal for it to "freeze" its nuclear work in return for no new sanctions and ruled out any talks with major powers on the issue.

The comments by the conservative president, who is seeking a second term, are likely to further disappoint the US administration of President Obama, which is seeking to engage Iran diplomatically.

The United States, Russia, China, France, Germany, and Britain said in April they would invite Iran to a meeting to try to find a diplomatic solution to the nuclear row.

The West accuses Iran of secretly developing atomic weapons. Iran, denies the charge and says it only wants nuclear power to generate electricity.

Breaking with past US policy of shunning direct talks with Iran, Obama's administration last month said it would join nuclear discussions with Tehran from now on.

Ahmadinejad proposed a debate with Obama at the United Nations in New York "regarding the roots of world problems" but he made clear Tehran would not bow to pressure on the nuclear issue.

"Our talks [with major powers] will only be in the framework of cooperation for managing global issues and nothing else. We have clearly announced this," Ahmadinejad said.