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Iran: Negotiations still possible
Updated: 2006-02-05 17:35

Iran said Sunday it will hold talks with Moscow on a proposal to enrich Iranian uranium in Russia, a day after a senior Iranian official declared the proposal dead because Iran was referred to the U.N. Security Council.

Iran: Negotiations still possible
Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani speaks at a news conference in January 2006.[AFP/file]

"The situation has changed. Still, we will attend talks with Russia on February 16," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told a press conference.

It was not clear if the change of course represented a major shift in Iran's strategy in the crisis over its nuclear activities. Asefi said "the door for negotiations is still open" over Iran's nuclear program.

"We don't fear the Security Council. It's not the end of the world," he added.

On Saturday, Javad Vaeidi, deputy head of the powerful National Security Council, said there was "no adequate reason to pursue the Russian plan" after the U.N. nuclear watchdog reported Iran to the Security Council.

But Asefi said Sunday that Russian remained open to the idea.

"The proposal has to conform itself with the new circumstances," Asefi said. "If the Russian proposal makes itself compatible with the new conditions, it can be negotiated."

Asefi's announcement came even as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad continued his defiance against the move by the International Atomic Energy Agency for its decision to report Iran to the U.N. Security Council.

"You (the West) can't do a thing. The era of coercion and domination has ended," Ahmadinejad was quoted by the official Islamic Republic News Agency as saying.

"Issue as many resolutions like this as you want and make yourself happy. You can't prevent the progress of the Iranian nation," he said.

The IAEA on Saturday reported Iran to the U.N. Security Council over fears it wants to produce nuclear arms. Iran responded by saying it would no longer allow intrusive IAEA inspections of its facilities and would restart full-scale work on uranium enrichment.

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