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    Iran's president says nuclear talks a step forward

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    Talks between Iran and world powers on the Islamic Republic's controversial nuclear program were a step forward, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Sunday.

    TEHRAN, July 20 (RIA Novosti) - Talks between Iran and world powers on the Islamic Republic's controversial nuclear program were a step forward, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Sunday.

    Saturday's talks in Geneva between Iranian security council chief Saeed Jalili and envoys from the group of six world powers - China, France, Russia, the United States, Germany and Britain - ended in a stalemate as Iran said it would not discuss a demand to halt its uranium enrichment, which the West suspects is geared towards weapons production.

    However, Ahmadinejad praised the nuclear talks. "Any negotiations can be viewed as a step forward... Yesterday's negotiation can be regarded as one of such forward-moving talks."

    European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said after the Geneva talks that the six world powers were expecting a clear answer from Tehran in about two weeks to their offer of trade and technical incentives to halt uranium enrichment.

    Iran is currently under three sets of relatively mild UN Security Council sanctions for defying 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.

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