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Iran ready to resume talks with West

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Iran ready to resume talks with West
Workers continue their duties at the Bushehr nuclear power plant on October 26, 2010 as Iran began to load fuel into the core of its first atomic power plant some 745 miles south of Tehran. The Russian-built power plant is supervised by the United Nation's nuclear agency. UPI/Mehr News Agency/Majid Asgarpour | License Photo

TEHRAN, April 19 (UPI) -- Iran said Tuesday it is ready to resume talks with Western powers, but the nuclear issue would not be on the table.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told the Iranian Student News Agency the government is willing to meet with the P5-plus-one group -- Security Council permanent members China, France, Russia, Britain and the United States, plus Germany -- at any time.

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Catherine Ashton, the European Union's foreign policy commissioner, recently asked Iranian negotiator Saeed Jalili to restart talks.

"We are set to pursue the issue, whenever the other party is ready," Mehmanparast said. But he added, "We believe that our nuclear work is underway in a natural way" and "other shared issues can be discussed."

Iran denies accusations that its nuclear fuel enrichment program is intended to produce weapons

PHOTOS: Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant

Mehmanparast also said the trip of Iranian U.N. Ambassador Mohammad Khazaei to Cairo "was not in the framework of bilateral ties. His trip came for a specialized meeting sponsored by the U.N. in which no framework for bilateral relations was defined."

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Iran cut diplomatic relations in 1979 after Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel.

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