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    Iran rejects U.S.'s enrichment-freeze-for-talks plan

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    Iran has turned down demands by the United States to halt its uranium enrichment program as a precondition for direct negotiations with Washington, the foreign minister said on Monday.

    TEHRAN, December 24 (RIA Novosti) - Iran has turned down demands by the United States to halt its uranium enrichment program as a precondition for direct negotiations with Washington, the foreign minister said on Monday.

    "Following the publication of a U.S. intelligence report on Iran, U.S. politicians started talking about some preconditions for negotiations with this country. But we do not accept any conditions," Manouchehr Mottaki said.

    He said U.S. sanctions against Iran, the ongoing international pressure, and the double standards practiced by the U.S. administration in the fight against terrorism are out of tune with the White House's statements about its readiness to open dialogue with the Islamic Republic.

    "The Americans have to prove first that they are not pursuing their selfish interests, but are working on a new approach [with respect to Iran]," the minister said.

    The U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), published on December 3, stated that Tehran had put a stop to weapons production in 2003, although it was continuing to enrich uranium.

    The report contradicted a previous U.S. intelligence assessment in 2005 which said that the Islamic Republic was actively pursuing a nuclear bomb.

    U.S. President George W. Bush remained hawkish, despite the report, saying that, "Iran was dangerous, Iran is dangerous and Iran will be dangerous if they have the know how to make a nuclear weapon."

    When asked if military action remained an option, the president answered, "The best diplomacy - effective diplomacy - is one in which all options are on the table."

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