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France says Iran negotiations conditional on nuclear suspension

France says Iran negotiations conditional on nuclear suspensionAgence France Presse, Paris – France said Wednesday that further negotiation with Iran on a deal with the world’s major powers was dependent on Tehran first suspending its nuclear activities, as demanded under a UN Security Council deadline.

"As we have said all along, and as Mr (Ali) Larijani (Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator) well knows, the return to the negotiating table is tied to a suspension of its uranium enrichment activity," Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy told a media conference.

"Our hand is still extended. The Iranians know the rules of the game: first a suspension of sensitive nuclear activities."

Iran on Tuesday gave an ambiguous response to an offer made by the UN Security Council permanent members (Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States) and Germany for economic and nuclear cooperation in exchange for a halt to Tehran’s nuclear programme.

Larijani said Iran was ready for "serious talks" but no details were made public of its response.

The UN Security Council has given Iran a deadline of August 31 to cease enrichment, beyond which the United States is pushing for sanctions to be imposed.