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Iraqi forces attack Camp Ashraf

France skeptical of Iran's willingness to talk

But after previous talks ended in frustration for Western nations, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Wednesday he's "a bit skeptical" things will be any different this time.

"I think Iran is continuing to use double speak," Juppe said on France's i-Tele television. "That's the reason why we must remain extremely firm on the sanctions we have decided upon, which are from my point of view the best way to avoid a military option, which could have immeasurable consequences."

Iran has steadfastly rejected demands to halt its uranium enrichment, which Washington and its allies worry could be the foundation for a future nuclear weapons program. Iran claims it seeks only energy and medical research from its reactors, but it wants full control over the nuclear process from uranium ore to fuel rods.

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Tuesday that the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany had agreed to a new round of nuclear talks with Iran more than a year after suspending them.

The time and venue of the new talks have not been set.

Tehran, for its part, on Tuesday invited inspectors to see a site suspected of secret atomic weapons work.

In Washington, President Barack Obama declared he had been working to avert war with Iran during intensive meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week. Israel, fearing the prospect of a nuclear Iran, has been stressing a need for possible military action, but Obama said sanctions and diplomacy already were working.

Previous talks have not resolved international suspicions that Iran is engaging in its nuclear energy program as cover for an eventual plan to build a bomb. The negotiating group also has failed to strike a deal for Iran to stop enriching uranium that might one day be turned into bomb fuel.