U.S. pushes for answers over Iran nuclear counter-offer

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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at a U.N. meeting in New York on September 25, 2009

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The United States on Friday sought clarification from Iran in response to its counter-offer involving shipping low-enriched uranium for refining abroad, senior administration officials said.

Clinton told CNN that Western officials were working to determine what the Iranians are willing to do — whether Tehran’s decision is final or an interim statement. Iran sent its response Thursday to the IAEA, the U.N. nuclear watchdog. The agreement was designed to reduce the amount of material Iran has to possibly make a nuclear bomb. The United States and its allies fear that Tehran’s goal is to make a bomb, which Iran denies. Iran shocked the world in September by revealing the existence of a previously unknown nuclear plant near the city of Qom. The IAEA this month sent a team of inspectors for a four-day visit to that facility. Iran’s state-run Press TV reported that the inspectors “have expressed satisfaction with their mission.” The proposal was drafted with the hope of averting a nuclear showdown with Iran.CNN’s Elise Labott and Jill Dougherty contributed to this report.