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Iran Says It Will Set Nuclear-Talks Terms Next Week

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran next week will announce conditions for its participation in proposed talks on the dispute over its nuclear program, which this month prompted a fourth round of United Nations sanctions.

“The countries that imposed sanctions against Iran are scared,” which is why they have asked Iranian officials to take part in talks, Ahmadinejad said today. “The Islamic Republic will talk about it with them in a way that will make them regret what they did,” he said, calling the UN Security Council sanctions “laughable.” His comments were carried on the government’s information website.

The U.S. and its allies remain committed to pursuing diplomatic engagement with Iran as well as imposing pressure, even as the June 9 sanctions are put into effect, the State Department’s undersecretary for political affairs, William Burns, said at a June 22 Senate hearing in Washington.

Iran has refused Security Council demands to suspend uranium enrichment, saying the nuclear development is necessary for civilian purposes such as power generation. The U.S. and its allies say the work may be aimed at weapons production.

The Persian Gulf country said yesterday it has 17 kilograms (37 pounds) of 20 percent-enriched uranium, more than triple the amount UN nuclear inspectors found there in April. A weapon could be made by enriching 150 to 200 kilograms of 20 percent uranium to a concentration of 80 to 90 percent, say analysts including Paul Ingram, executive director of the London-based British American Security Information Council.

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