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Page last updated at 10:17 GMT, Monday, 7 September 2009 11:17 UK

Tehran 'ready for global talks'

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at Monday's news conference
The president called for "fair, logical" dialogue to solve today's challenges

Iran's president has ruled out any discussion of its "undeniable" right to nuclear energy, but proposed talks with global powers on its peaceful use.

Speaking at a news conference, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also proposed a public debate with President Barack Obama of the United States, Iran's main foe.

A US-set deadline is approaching for Iran to stop nuclear enrichment, which Washington says could be to make arms.

Mr Ahmadinejad said deadlines were "incompatible" with the world's needs.

"From our point of view, Iran's nuclear issue is finished. We continue our work within the framework of global regulations and in close interaction with the International Atomic Energy Agency," he said.

We are ready for debate and talk on global issues - which is the best way to resolve world issues - before mass media
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

"We will never negotiate over the undeniable rights of the Iranian nation."

He said Iran's co-operation with the international community would follow two tracks, developing clean atomic energy for peaceful purposes and preventing a proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Sanctions threat

The Obama administration has set a deadline of the G-20 meeting later in September for Iran to respond to its demands, which are backed by the other veto-wielding countries at the UN Security Council - China, France, Russia, the UK - and Germany.

The "P5-plus-one" position is that Iran must take up an offer of talks on trade links if it suspends nuclear enrichment. If Tehran refuses it faces harsher punitive measures.

Mr Ahmadinejad also said he was prepared to hold a public debate with Mr Obama on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

"I have said it before and repeat it now that we are ready for debate and talk on global issues - which is the best way to resolve world issues - before mass media," Mr Ahmadinejad said.

The US administration has offered a new approach to Iran if the Islamic Republic would "unclench it fist" .

Monday sees the opening of a week-long meeting of governors of the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, in Vienna.

Central to the IAEA discussions will be allegations, based on western intelligence reports, that Iran has secretly studied ways to make nuclear bombs.

Iran, which is already subject to a package of sanctions imposed by the UN over its nuclear work, says the latest allegations are fabricated.

In its own report, the watchdog urged Iran to address the suspicions, rather than simply dismissing them.



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