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Last Updated: Saturday, 24 June 2006, 15:05 GMT 16:05 UK
Germany presses Iran over uranium
Iranian FM Manouchehr Mottaki
Mr Mottaki gave little away about Iran's response to the UN offer
Germany's foreign minister has called on Iran to halt uranium enrichment if it wants to resume negotiations with world powers on its nuclear programme.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier was speaking after meeting his Iranian counterpart, Manouchehr Mottaki, in Berlin.

Mr Mottaki, for his part, called for "negotiations without pre-conditions".

The two men discussed incentives offered by the permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany, to try to get Iran to halt uranium enrichment.

Iran is considering the package - which is thought to include trade concessions as well as economic and technical incentives.

I can only reiterate and urge Iran to implement very quickly a suspension of enrichment
Frank-Walter Steinmeier
German Foreign Minister
German officials had said they hoped Mr Mottaki would give a concrete indication when Tehran was likely to respond to the package.

But the Iranian foreign minister was non-committal after the Berlin meeting.

"We see positive points in the package and parallel to that there are also things that are unclear and we will have questions," he said.

His comments echoed similar statements made by Iranian officials since the offer was conveyed to Iran earlier this month.

Waiting for an answer

The Tehran government has said it is willing to negotiate with the five permanent Security Council members and Germany.

Iranian nuclear facility
Tehran insists its nuclear programme is for energy purposes
But Mr Steinmeier made clear the Iranians had to halt uranium work first.

"I can only reiterate and urge Iran to implement very quickly a suspension of enrichment," he said.

The BBC's Tristana Moore in Berlin says the German government wants to avoid setting any deadlines for responding to the package, but it is clear that patience is wearing thin.

Many diplomats are hoping that Iran will use the G8 summit in St Petersburg in mid-July as an occasion to give a formal response.

However, Iran's president said this week mid-August would be a more likely date.

After the Berlin talks, Mr Steinmeier said EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana would meet Iranian officials again in the next week to discuss the package.

Western powers are concerned Iran may use its programme to build a nuclear weapons capability, but Tehran insists it is for purely peaceful, energy purposes.


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