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US says no conference on nuke-free Mideast for now

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November 23, 2012 11:29 PM EST | AP

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. says a proposed conference on banning nuclear weapons in the Middle East cannot be convened at this point because of current conditions in the region.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement released Friday that the U.S. will continue to work to create conditions that could result in a successful conference. But she cited political turmoil in the region and Iran's defiant stance on nonproliferation.

She says the U.S. supports the goal of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction. But she said such a conference should discuss a broad agenda of regional security and have some sort of consensus among the nations in the region on how to approach the conference.