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Iran says keen to resume talks on nuclear programme
LONDON (Reuters) - Iran is keen to resume talks with major powers on its disputed nuclear programme to clear up "ambiguities" in the discussions, Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Mahdi Safari said on Wednesday.
"We would like just to continue this negotiation and discussion as soon as possible," Safari told a news conference during a visit to London.
Western powers fear Tehran wants to build an atomic bomb. Iran says it is only seeking to master nuclear technology to generate electricity.
Iran's chief atomic negotiator, Saeed Jalili, and European Union foreign policy Javier Solana, representing six world powers last discussed Tehran's nuclear programme by telephone in August. An EU official said there was no change in the dispute.
The United States, Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain have offered to hold off from seeking further sanctions against Iran if Tehran freezes expansion of its nuclear work.
After Iran responded to the offer last month with a non-committal letter, Western countries said they would look at stepping up sanctions on Tehran.
The United States increased pressure on Tehran on Wednesday by slapping sanctions on its shipping sector.
Safari said there were "ambiguities" in the exchanges between Iran and the six powers on the nuclear issue.
"We are ready to just sit together and to clear up these ambiguities... Always we said that we are ready and we are available," said Safari, who held talks with Foreign Secretary David Miliband and other British officials in London.
Iran has repeatedly ruled out suspending uranium enrichment, as the six powers say it must do before formal negotiations on their offer can start.
Responding to Safari's comments, a British Foreign Office spokesman said Miliband had made it clear to Safari that all of the six powers regarded Iran's failure to take up their offer as "very disappointing and regrettable and he urged them to rethink their approach."
"If Iran does see ambiguities they should tell the (six powers) what they are and stop delaying," he said.
Safari said that Miliband had accepted his offer to visit Iran and said dates would be fixed through diplomatic channels.
However, the Foreign Office spokesman said Miliband had "no immediate plans" to visit Tehran.
(Reporting by Adrian Croft; Editing by Sami Aboudi)
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