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Iran refuses to discuss enrichment freeze in future talks

Iran refuses to discuss enrichment freeze in future talks
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Iran remains at odds with the world’s major powers over its disputed nuclear programme following historic talks in Geneva. The meeting, led by the EU’s foreign policy chief, presented Tehran with a new package of incentives to resolve the row but the measures were rejected.

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said, after meeting Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalil, that Iran gave no clear answer to the offer, but that he hoped for a fuller response in two weeks’ time.

Jalil said that in any next round of talks Tehran was not ready to discuss a freeze in enrichment proposed by the “sextet” in return for the U.N. Security Council halting further sanctions measures.

The high-level U.S. participation in the one-day meeting in Geneva, together with Iranian comments playing down the likelihood of an attack by the United States and Israel, had raised hopes of progress and helped ease record oil prices.

But the optimism was tempered by U.S. insistence that despite the presence of its envoy William Burns, real negotiations cannot begin until Iran has frozen sensitive nuclear work, a step Tehran has repeatedly refused to take.