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European Union and United States diplomats began talks with Iran's
European Union and United States diplomats began talks with Iran's top nuclear negotiator in Geneva on Saturday aimed at resolving the international dispute surrounding Iran's nuclear program.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, U.S. Undersecretary of State William Burns and Iran's Saeed Jalili are discussing Iran's response to recent proposals from the 'Iran Six' group of countries trying to persuade Tehran to drop its nuclear ambitions.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice earlier said that Washington's involvement in direct discussions with Iran on this issue sends a "strong signal" that her country is committed to diplomacy.

President George W. Bush had previously said that the U.S. would not hold direct talks with Iran until it freezes nuclear activities, which Western nations fear could lead to the creation of atomic weapons.

The Iran Six, which comprises China, France, Russia, the United States, Germany and Britain, has insisted that Tehran halt uranium enrichment in exchange for a package of economic incentives and several international cooperation projects.

However, Iran has argued that while it is ready to discuss its nuclear program, it will not halt uranium enrichment.

Solana handed Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki a package of new incentives from the Iran Six on June 14.

Speaking ahead of today's meeting, Solana said he hoped the talks would be constructive and that "the sides do not repeat their past mistakes."


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