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Talks between European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Iranian
Talks between European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Iranian security council chief Saeed Jalili will be held in Geneva on July 19, an Iranian security council spokesman said on Friday.

The officials are expected to discuss the latest international proposals aimed at persuading Iran to drop its nuclear ambitions.

"Jalili's visit to Geneva is to take place after the Iran Six welcomed a continuation of talks with Solana with regard to proposals by both Iran and the Iran Six itself," the IRNA news agency cited Ahmad Khademolmelleh as saying.

Tehran submitted in May to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the EU foreign policy chief a package of proposals on nuclear non-proliferation and other international security issues, including on how to solve the ongoing international row surrounding Iran's nuclear program.

Solana handed Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki a package of new incentives from the Iran Six - China, France, Russia, the United States, Germany and Britain - on June 14. The proposals offer political, security and trade benefits to Iran in exchange for suspending its nuclear program.

However, the six world powers have demanded that Iran impose a moratorium on uranium enrichment prior to the talks on the issue.

Iranian officials have repeatedly stated that Tehran would not accept any new incentives if they contained demands for a suspension of uranium enrichment.

No details were released regarding Iran's formal reply to Solana last Friday, but Tehran later reiterated that it would continue to pursue its civilian nuclear program.

"Iran's stance [on uranium enrichment] has not changed; however, we are ready to hold talks in the framework of preserving Iran's nuclear rights," government spokesman Gholamhossein Elham told a news conference last Saturday.

Iran is currently under three sets of relatively mild UN Security Council sanctions for defying international demands to halt uranium enrichment, which it says it needs purely for electricity generation despite Western accusations that the program is geared toward weapon production.

Iran maintains that it has never been involved in research into the development of nuclear weapons.

The news comes as tensions continue to rise between Iran, Israel and the U.S. The Islamic Republic continues to test a range of short and long range missiles during the Great Prophet III war games in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. The exercises are taking place as Israel apparently geared up for an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities. The U.S. has pledged to defend Israel from any "Iranian aggression."

Russia welcomed on Friday the announcement of the upcoming EU-Iran talks in Geneva.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters in Moscow: "We support continued and intensified efforts to reach an agreement on the Iranian 'nuclear file' and hope that the upcoming discussions of the package of new incentives, handed over to Iran last month, will help create all the necessary conditions for that to happen."


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