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Old 08-03-2008, 05:19 AM
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Iran misses informal nuclear offer deadline

Iran has missed an informal Saturday deadline to respond to an offer by major powers on its nuclear programme, a European Union official said, but European diplomats are ready to wait a few more days for an answer.

Major powers asked Iran on July 19 to respond within two weeks to their offer to hold off from imposing more U.N. sanctions if Tehran froze expansion of its nuclear work. Iran has dismissed the idea of having a deadline to reply.

"There is nothing new (from Iran)," one EU official said on Saturday, adding that the bloc did not really expect an answer over the weekend.

"One should not focus on the deadline too much ... what matters is that we get a clear answer quickly, it's not a matter of one day," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the nuclear talks.

The West accuses Iran of seeking to build nuclear warheads under cover of a civilian power programme. Iran, the world's fourth largest oil producer, denies the charge.

The United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany in June offered Iran economic and other incentives to halt uranium enrichment, which can have both civilian and military uses.
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