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Iran Open to Higher Level Summit

Iran's foreign minister said Thursday his nation is willing to raise and extend its dialogue on a wide variety of issues to a "summit" level with world powers.

Manouchehr Mottaki told reporters that Iran went into talks Thursday near Geneva with the United States and five other world powers with "a clear agenda and a plan of action."

"And we have entered into these discussions with this clear agenda, and this dialogue can also be enhanced, both in form and the level of discussions," he said in Farsi, speaking through a translator at a news conference at U.N. headquarters in New York.

"So, different committees can be formed and they can cover various topics in the discussions and they can be put in the agenda," he said. "And from the point of the level of discussions ... the Islamic Republic of Iran has the readiness to enhance the level of such talks up to the level of a summit meeting."

Mottaki said Iran was willing to discuss a variety of security, economic and political issues that Iran has defined although he did not specifically refer to discussions on nuclear issues which are the key topic in the negotiations near Geneva.

The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council - the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France - plus Germany hope to persuade Tehran to freeze a program that could create nuclear weapons.

Only China, which appears most opposed to new U.N. sanctions on Tehran, is sending a relatively low-level representative.

CBS News foreign affairs analyst Pamela Falk wrote in the World Watch blog Wednesday that China's seemingly endless need for oil - and their massive investment in Iran's oil infrastructure - may end up blocking any meaningful economic sanctions against Tehran.

CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer reports that this is the first time there have been serious, official talks between Iran and the United States in 30 years, and American diplomats, speaking off the record at least, have very modest, but realistic expectations. The two nations lack formal relations.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called the six-power talks a productive session that has opened the door to a positive outcome.

Speaking to reporters at the State Department shortly after the Iran talks ended, Clinton cautioned that it was too soon to know whether Iran would respond with the concrete actions that she said the U.S. is hoping for. She said that more than gestures and discussions are required.

Clinton said she got a readout of the Geneva talks Thursday by telephone from the head of the U.S. delegation there, Under Secretary of State William Burns.

Going into Thursday's talks, one of the top U.S. goals was to get the Iranians to commit to a second round of talks to be held within a couple of weeks in order to keep the dialogue in a compact timeframe. The U.S. assumption was that if Iran was willing to engage seriously on the nuclear issue, a positive sign would be its agreement to have a second meeting shortly.

Meanwhile, a senior EU envoy said Iran has pledged to open its recently revealed uranium enrichment plant to U.N. inspectors perhaps in the next few weeks.

Javier Solana, the EU's top foreign policy official, also confirmed Iran and six world powers will hold a new set of talks on international concerns about Tehran's nuclear program and other issues raised by the Islamic Republic.

He spoke Thursday after the seven-nation meeting outside Geneva.

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