Iranian Official Invites 'Serious' Nuclear Talks

Iran's chief negotiator says Tehran is ready for what he calls "serious" talks about its nuclear program. It's unclear whether the government is willing to suspend uranium enrichment, a key demand from Western governments. Iran could face U.N. sanctions if it doesn't suspend its nuclear program by the end of this month.

In Tehran, Ali Larijani, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, hand-delivered Iran's proposals to the ambassadors of Britain, France, Russia, China, Germany, and Switzerland, which represents American interests in Iran. There are no formal diplomatic relations between Tehran and Washington.

State-run television quoted Larijani telling the diplomats that Iran is prepared to enter into negotiations as early as Wednesday.

The U.S. response has been cautious. At the United Nations, Ambassador John Bolton suggested the Bush administration will give the Iranian proposals serious thought.

The Iranian government did not divulge the details of its proposal, but a semi-official Iranian news agency reports that Tehran had rejected suspension of its nuclear activities. The Security Council resolution called for a suspension of Iran's uranium enrichment activities — but not all of its nuclear activities.

Late Tuesday, a U.S. official said the Iranian response was typical, offering no surprises. The United States will move forward on a U.N. sanctions resolution, he added.

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