Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Iran talks must address nuclear issue: Clinton

Updated at: 0038 PST, Wednesday, September 16, 2009 WASHINGTON: Iran must answer concerns about its nuclear program "head on" in any negotiations, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday.

Clinton, speaking to reporters here, added that a six-power meeting with Iran on October 1 will test Iran's readiness to discuss international concerns about its uranium enrichment program.

"We have made clear to the Iranians that any talks we participate in must address the nuclear issue head on. It cannot be ignored," Clinton said.

Clinton conceded that "there is no prediction" as to what will emerge from the talks when she was asked how Washington could agree to them without any Iranian commitment to discuss its own nuclear program.

"The point is to meet and explain to the Iranians face to face the choices Iran has and to see whether Iran is prepared to engage with us around its nuclear program," Clinton said, referring to a carrot-and-stick approach toward Iran.

The five UN Security Council permanent members -- the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France -- plus Germany are due to take part in the talks with Iran's top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili on October 1.

The six powers had called for urgent talks with Iran after it handed over the proposals last week.

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