Iran Calls Talks a Step Forward

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran's president described talks with world powers on its disputed nuclear program as a step forward on Sunday, official media said, even though the meeting in Geneva failed to produce any breakthrough in the standoff.

At Saturday's discussions in the Swiss city, the six powers gave the Islamic Republic two weeks to answer calls to rein in its nuclear activities or face tougher sanctions after talks ended in stalemate despite unprecedented U.S. participation.

Prospects of ending the row looked dim as Iran's top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili said Iran would not discuss a demand to freeze sensitive atomic work the West fears is aimed at making bombs at the next meeting. Iran says its aims are peaceful.

But Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave an upbeat assessment. "Any negotiation that takes place is a step forward," he told reporters, according to IRNA.

"Yesterday's negotiation is regarded as one of these forward-moving negotiations," Ahmadinejad said.

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said after some six hours of talks in Geneva he hoped for a clear answer from Tehran in about two weeks to a world powers offer of trade and technical incentives to halt uranium enrichment.

Envoys from the United States, Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain attended the Geneva meeting.