Iran is ready to talk with EU to find a compromise in nuclear crisis

The unexpected concession was announced by Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki at the end of a meeting of the 116-nation Non-Aligned Movement, which earlier Tuesday urged all parties in the nuclear crisis to resume talks unconditionally to prevent a military confrontation.

"I announce that Iran is ready to respond positively to the call made (by NAM) for resuming the negotiations on Iran's nuclear issue without any preconditions," Mottaki told reporters.

There was no immediate reaction from the three European countries to Iran's offer.

Negotiations between Iran and the so-called EU Three broke off in August 2005 after Tehran resumed activities linked to uranium enrichment - a process that produces fuel for nuclear reactors as well as material for atomic bombs, the   AP reports.

Mottaki gave no indication what caused the change of heart, but it was apparently linked to a planned package of incentives that world powers are contemplating to convince Iran to abandon uranium enrichment.

The package - put together by the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany - was to be presented to Tehran by the EU Three.

But Mottaki made it clear that Iran will not hold direct negotiations with the United States, which has accused Iran of using its civilian nuclear program as a cover to produce nuclear weapons. Tehran denies this, saying its nuclear program is merely to generate electricity.

He insisted that Iran was not looking to develop nuclear weapons.

Iran's softened stand came hours after it won support from NAM, the world's biggest bloc after the United Nations, which not only backed Tehran's nuclear development but also spoke out against any attack on the country.

Still, the support of NAM - comprising mostly developing countries and anti-U.S. nations such as North Korea and Cuba - is only moral, and the threat of sanctions by Europe and the United States is more real to Tehran.