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Iran stresses nuclear rights before talks

April 4, 2013 at 12:31 PM

ALMATY, Kazakhstan, April 4 (UPI) -- Iran has the right to a peaceful enrichment program under international protocols, Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Asghar Soltanieh said from Kazakhstan.

U.S. diplomats are dubbing upcoming talks Almaty 2. The first round of talks between Iran, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany concluded after two days in February.

U.N. weapons inspectors this year said there weren't able to gain access to military compounds in Iran to confirm the country's peaceful intent. Iran is suspected of pursuing the technology needed to produce a nuclear weapon, an allegation it denies.

A high-ranking U.S. official briefed reporters on background about the prospects for talks to start Friday. What the negotiations may lead to is up to the Iranians, however.

"There has been a very positive line out of Tehran on the talks so far," the official said. "We hope that that positive talk will now be matched with some concrete responses and actions on the Iranian side."

Iran maintains the right to nuclear research under the auspices of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. Soltanieh said Iran's nuclear program is meant for energy, medicinal and agricultural purposes.

"Iran uses nuclear technology for completely peaceful objectives, which have been reiterated in the NPT," he was quoted by the semiofficial Fars News Agency as saying.

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