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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 August 2006, 13:37 GMT 14:37 UK
Iran press defiant on nuclear issue
Iranian Press

Iran has said it is ready for "serious talks" with six world powers over its nuclear programme.

The Iranian press has been debating the country's response to the package of incentives proposed by the UN Security Council's five permanent members plus Germany to suspend uranium enrichment.

One paper argues that US hostility towards Iran is not limited to the nuclear programme. Another urges Iran to withdraw from the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

RESALAT [conservative]

In its response, Iran has left all the doors open for talks. If the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] and the Security Council do not want to step through these doors, that is their problem... When [supreme leader] Ayatollah Khamenei said that Iran will continue its course with strength on the nuclear energy issue, he was in fact speaking on behalf of 70 million Iranians.

KEYHAN [hardline; pro-Khamenei]

The past three years' experience has not left the slightest doubt that America and its allies are trying to use extortion against Iran to deprive our country of peaceful nuclear technology. The only option is to withdraw from the effectively annulled NPT and to end this ridiculous game.

IRAN DAILY [English-language; conservative]

The duration of suspending uranium enrichment is an important consideration. If this duration had been specified in the package, then it could have positively influenced the decision of expert committees.

HAMBASTEGI [reformist]

It would seem that eliminating the suspension precondition for starting the talks in exchange for accepting to discuss suspension in the talks can prove helpful and create a new opportunity. This would also rob America of a pretext for seeking to make up for its defeat in Lebanon.

HAMSHAHRI [conservative]

Some people may say that the resolution of this problem and preventing the fulfilment of America's fierce threats can be realised through the acceptance of suspension. The answer to this suspicion is clear. Tehran earlier succumbed to voluntary acceptance [of the suspension of its nuclear activities] for two and a half years with the aim of neutralising any pretexts, but what did it gain and how was it rewarded for this confidence-building?

AL-VEFAGH [Arabic-language; published by IRNA news agency]

The Iranian answer, which is based on legal and technical studies, is positive. American hostility [towards Iran] goes far beyond the nuclear issue.

KARGOZARAN [reformist]

If Iran and the West arrive at the impression that the other side is not prepared to show any flexibility, the technical and political tug-of-war over the Iranian nuclear issue will turn into a tug-of-war over pride... then everyone loses control over the situation.

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