Iran wants talks, under spectre of possible war
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Last Updated: Sunday, February 19, 2012, 23:51
Tehran: Iran is to host a high-level team from the UN nuclear watchdog on Monday as part of efforts to defuse dire international tensions over its atomic activities through dialogue.

But other words being spoken in Israel, the United States and Britain -- and Iran's defiant moves to boost its nuclear activities -- underlined the prospect of possible Israeli military action against the Islamic republic.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi on Sunday said his country was keen to quickly resume mooted talks with world powers, once a place and date were agreed.

The last talks collapsed in Istanbul in January 2011, but Iran has responded positively to an EU offer to look at reviving them.

"We are looking for a mechanism for a solution for the nuclear issue in a way that it is win-win for both sides," Salehi said.

But he added that Iran remained prepared for a "worst-case scenario."

Such a scenario -- war -- remained very much the subtext of a visit to Israel today by US National Security Advisor Tom Donilon.

Israel has been gripped by feverish speculation in recent weeks that it is closer to mounting a pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear programme, though Tel Aviv has denied reaching such a decision.

Israel's calculations will have taken into account an announcement by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last Tuesday that his scientists were boosting uranium enrichment, notably by adding 3,000 more centrifuges to a facility at Natanz.


First Published: Sunday, February 19, 2012, 23:51

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