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Iran ready to negotiate nuclear proposals: FM

US circulates draft resolution on nuclear disarmament at UN

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Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki renewed on Saturday Iran's readiness for negotiations over its nuclear proposals but made no direct response to calls from the major powers for urgent talks.

"By giving this package, the Islamic Republic of Iran has shown its determination to enter into negotiation on the main topics in the package," Mottaki told reporters in Tehran.

"I think that if one takes into account separate statements made by these powers, they acknowledge that our package has major topics for holding constructive negotiations," he said.

"This can be the basis of negotiations... we hope that they (the six world powers) address our package seriously, deeply and analytically."

His comments came as six world powers - Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States -- considered new proposals handed over by Iran on Wednesday to delay Western concerns about the real purpose of its nuclear program.

No WMDs

Meanwhile, Iran's Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said Tehran has no ambitions to develop an atomic bomb .

The Fars news agency quoted Vahidi as saying: "We regard production of weapons of mass destruction as contrary to our religious, human and national principles."

"Manufacturing nuclear weapons is not, and has never been, on our agenda," it added.

Vahidi is wanted by Argentina in connection with a deadly 1994 bombing against a Jewish center in Buenos Aires but was unanimously approved as defense minister in a vote of confidence in parliament last week.

We regard production of weapons of mass destruction as contrary to our religious, human and national principles

Iran defense minister

Talks with major powers

The United States said on Friday it would accept Iran's offer of wide-ranging talks with major powers but expressed disappointment with the proposals.

"It is not really responsive to our greatest concern," assistant secretary of state for public affairs, Philip Crowley, told reporters on Thursday.

"We will seek an early meeting and we will seek to test Iran's willingness to engage," Crowley said.

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana issued a statement in Brussels saying he was seeking an urgent meeting with Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, to try to resolve Western concerns about Iran's nuclear program.

U.S. President Barack Obama came into office pledging a policy of engagement toward Iran and the State Department said it wanted the so-called P5+1 nations to meet Iranian officials now to see if they were willing to talk substantively.

We will seek an early meeting and we will seek to test Iran's willingness to engage

Philip Crowley -- Assistant secretary of state for public affairs

U.S. proposes nuclear disarmament

Meanwhile the U.S. circulated a draft Security Council resolution calling on all nations to cooperate to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

The text, a copy of which was obtained by AFP, is up for a vote during a special Security Council meeting on nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament.

Obama is scheduled to preside over the Sept. 24 meeting, a day after he is scheduled to address the U.N. General Assembly session.

Although the draft does not explicitly refer to Iran or North Korea, it does point to recently adopted Security Council resolutions that imposes sanctions for their nuclear or ballistic activities.

The measure called on states that have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) "to comply fully with all their obligations under the treaty" and for others to become signatories "so as to achieve its universality at an early date, and in any case to adhere to its terms."

The NPT, which is up for review in May, is increasingly challenged by countries like Iran and North Korea that seek nuclear state status. The last NPT review conference ended in disarray in May 2005 with no agreement from its 189 signatory countries.

Israel, widely considered the Middle East's sole albeit undeclared nuclear power, is not party to the treaty. Nuclear-armed rival states India and Pakistan have also not signed, while North Korea withdrew from the treaty in 2003.

The resolution urged all countries to back efforts "to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to nuclear arms reduction and disarmament and on a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control."