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Iran 'ready for nuclear talks'

Iran's new president says his country is ready for "serious" and swift talks with world powers over the nation's controversial nuclear programme.

Hasan Rouhani said he is "ready to engage in serious and substantial talks without wasting time" and voiced hope that interactions with the West should be based on "talks, not threats".

Mr Rouhani spoke to reporters at his first news conference since taking office. He was inaugurated on Sunday.

Earlier in the day, the European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, called on Mr Rouhani to schedule "meaningful talks" on the nuclear issue as soon as possible.

The West fears Iran's nuclear programme aims at developing atomic weapons, while Tehran insists it serves only peaceful purposes.

Four rounds of talks since last year have failed to make significant headway.

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