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Iran Denies Reports of Nuclear Offer by U.N. Powers
A senior Iranian nuclear negotiator on Monday denied news reports that six governments unveiled a new proposal to address international fears over his nation's nuclear program, Iran's Fars News Agency reported.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi's denial to a state-run broadcaster followed an Iranian website's publication of compromise terms said to have been presented in Geneva last week by diplomats from the five permanent U.N. Security Council member nations and Germany. Tehran used the meeting to brief those countries on its own plan for bolstering world confidence that its atomic activities are not geared toward development of a nuclear-weapon capability.
The Los Angeles Times republished the reported offer before Araqchi rejected all press claims of a new atomic proposal by the "P-5+1" nations.
The conservative Iranian publication Mashregh said the six powers asked Tehran to decrease the purity of a specific uranium stockpile that is now just a short step from nuclear-bomb fuel. The resulting substance would join a larger uranium supply that the six negotiating powers reportedly want to be capped at 11 tons; the rest would be converted into nuclear-power-plant material.
Despite denying such reports, Araqchi suggested the six powers acted constructively at last week's meeting.
"If we see the same seriousness in future negotiations which we saw in the (Oct. 15-16) Geneva negotiations, we believe that within six months to one year we can conclude the negotiations," Reuters reported.
"Perhaps within three months or six months we can reach a conclusion regarding the first step," he told al-Alam television, according to remarks quoted by the state-run Iranian Students' News Agency.
At a Wednesday meeting in Rome, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to caution U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry over potentially curbing economic penalties on Iran as part of a possible nuclear bargain, Reuters reported.
Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman -- Washington's top delegate to the Geneva meeting -- assured House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) that any curbs on penalties would not be premature, Foreign Policy magazine reported.
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