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Iran says talks with big powers to be held in January

Jan. 4, 2013 10:16 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 4, 2013 1:56 A.M.)
NEW DELHI (Reuters) -- Iran has agreed to hold talks with six major powers about its atomic program in January but the date and venue has yet to be decided, the country's top nuclear negotiator said on Friday.

The six powers want to rein in Iran's uranium enrichment program to ensure it is geared only for civilian energy, through a mix of diplomacy and sanctions. Iran denies Western assertions it is seeking nuclear weapons capability.

"We have accepted that these talks should be held in January, but until now, the details have not been finalized," Jalili said through a translator during a trip to India.

The six powers - the United States, Russia, France, Britain, Germany and China - have failed to achieve a breakthrough in three rounds of talks since April. But neither side has been willing to break off totally, partly because of concern this could lead to war if Israel attacked its arch-foe.

The powers last met Iran for talks in Moscow. That meeting was followed by low-level technical talks in Istanbul.

Jalili is the second member of Iran's nuclear team to visit India in the past month. He said he welcomed the two countries' strong ties but said India had no particular role in getting nuclear talks restarted.
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