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Annan Gains Iranian Support for UN Ceasefire Resolution


U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has won Iranian support for the U.N. ceasefire resolution that ended the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah militants in Lebanon.

Following talks with the secretary-general in Tehran Saturday, Iranian Foreign Minister Manoucher Mottaki said Tehran supported the Lebanese position on the resolution.

He warned, however, against any attempt to change the mandate of the peacekeeping mission called for in the resolution.

Mr. Annan also held talks with Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, to discuss Tehran's controversial nuclear program. Larijani described the meeting as "positive," and said he and Mr. Annan agreed the best way to address the nuclear issue is through negotiations.

The secretary-general's trip comes as the United States is leading a drive to impose sanctions against Iran after it refused to comply with an August 31st U.N. Security Council deadline demanding Tehran suspend uranium enrichment.

European foreign ministers meeting in Finland are urging more negotiations before considering sanctions against the Islamic republic. Mr. Annan is expected to meet Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Sunday.

The Iranian leader has repeatedly said Tehran will not give up its right to develop nuclear technology. Washington and its western allies have accused Iran of seeking to obtain nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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