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World Powers Await Iran's Response on Nuclear Proposal


World powers involved in the effort to persuade Iran to give up key portions of its nuclear program are awaiting Tehran's formal response today (Tuesday) to their proposals.

Reports from the Iranian capital say the country's leadership is expected to deliver its reponse shortly to an international offer of incentives in return for an end to Iran's uranium-enrichment program.

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Monday that his country has made its decision, and will continue along the path toward nuclear energy. He denied once again that Iran has any plans to develop nuclear weapons.

Official sources in Tehran are quoted today as saying Iran's position will be disclosed in writing (at around 12-hours-30, Universal Time) to ambassadors from Russia, China, France, Germany, Britain. Switzerland's envoy in Tehran is representing the United States (which does not have diplomatic ties with Iran).

The six countries support the package of economic and other incentives offered to Iran in June.

Security Council has set an August 31st deadline for Iran to suspend its uranium-enrichment work, or face sanctions. After Ayatollah Khamenei's comments on Monday, President Bush said he hopes the council will take quick action.

In another development underscoring global concerns about Iran's motives in the current dispute, international nuclear inspectors say they were barred from part of a Iranian nuclear-fuel plant last week, during one of their regular inspections.

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