Putin: Iran Ready to Enter Negotiations


Thursday June 15, 2006 12:16 PM

SHANGHAI, China (AP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that Iran is ready to enter into negotiations on an offer by the U.N. powers to encourage Tehran to relinquish its nuclear fuel enrichment program.

"The Iranian side responded positively to the six-nation proposal for a way out of the crisis,'' Putin said after a meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The Russian leader said "Iran is ready to enter negotiations'' and that he hoped in the near future that Iran would set a date for the start of talks.

Russia has been Tehran's staunchest backer in the nuclear dispute with the U.S. The Shanghai meeting was the first face-to-face discussion between Putin and Ahmadinejad since the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia agreed last month to offer Iran incentives in return for negotiations conditioned on Iran freezing its uranium enrichment program.