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Iran ready to talk but nuclear discussions 'off limits'

  • Story Highlights
  • Ahmadinejad: Iran is ready to hold talks and exchange views
  • Continuation of current approaches "will not be beneficial," he says
  • Press TV said Iranian leader referring to permanent Security Council members
  • U.S. hopes Iran will answer questions about its nuclear program
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TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Iran is ready to hold talks with the United States and the West -- but ruled out discussion of its nuclear ambitions, state media said Monday.

"Although the Iranian nation will turn threats into unique opportunities, continuation of the current approaches will not be beneficial," President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying government-run Press TV.

"We are ready to hold talks and exchange views in a correct direction to solve global challenges," he said.

Press TV said Ahmadinejad was referring to the five veto-wielding members -- also known at the permanent members -- of the U.N. Security Council, as well as Germany. The permanent members include China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States.

But, Ahmadinejad said, its disputed nuclear work is off limits.

"Iran will never negotiate on obvious rights of our people," he said.

Iran has said its nuclear program is intended toward producing electricity and not weapons.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said the United States will try to engage diplomatically with Iran but said it was "not an open-ended offer."

He hoped Iran would answer questions about its nuclear program by September in time for a U.N. General Assembly meeting.

All About United Nations Security CouncilNuclear WeaponsIran

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