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Iran expecting new nuclear offer in Kazakhstan: negotiator

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Iran is expecting a new offer from world powers in talks later this month in Kazakhstan over its controversial nuclear programme, a member of its negotiating team said on Monday.

Iran and the P5+1 group of the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany are to resume negotiations in Almaty, Kazakhstan on February 26 after an eight-month hiatus, following up three failed meetings last year.

"The P5+1 knows they should have a new proposal for Iran," Mostafa Dolatyar, a member of Iran's nuclear negotiating delegation, told the ISNA news agency. "We will be the listeners in Almaty."

Their last high-ranking meeting, in Moscow in June, yielded no breakthrough as Iran rejected calls from the P5+1 to suspend part of its programme and asked for a substantial sanctions relief in return.

"We put forward our issues in Moscow and they are supposed to answer to them," Dolatyar said. "We will then respond accordingly based on what they will offer to us."

The remarks came after US Secretary of State John Kerry encouraged Iran on Friday to seriously address its disputed nuclear work at the talks, saying in return "the international community is ready to respond".

British Foreign Secretary William Hague has said the six world powers would put forward an "updated and credible" offer at the talks.

The Islamic republic is under various rounds of international sanctions over its disputed nuclear programme which the West fears is aimed at developing weapons. Iran insists its atomic work is peaceful.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Sunday that Tehran would "not retreat an iota" from what Tehran calls its nuclear rights.

Decisions on Tehran's nuclear programme rests with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, whose representative Saeed Jalili leads the negotiating team in the talks with world powers.

An earlier proposal by Washington to directly discuss the Iranian programme at Almaty with the Iranian team was shot down by Khamenei last week.

Iran is also being pressured by the UN's atomic watchdog agency to grant broader access to its facilities, scientists and documents to resolve outstanding concerns over its past atomic activities.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130211/iran-expecting-new-nuclear-offer-kazakhstan-negotiator