WASHINGTON - US and European negotiators may drop a demand that Iran close its nuclear facilities as a precondition to talks on its atomic programme, The New York Times reported Tuesday. Citing officials involved in the discussions, The New York Times reported that the Obama administration and European counterparts are working on proposals to do away with the longstanding US demand. The proposals - which have been discussed in confidential strategy sessions - would instead urge Tehran to allow gradual but wide-ranging inspection of its nuclear programme, the newspaper said. However, the proposals also call for allowing Iran to continue enriching uranium, at least in the early stages of talks. The Bush administration was adamant that Tehran must shut down enrichment-related programmes. A senior European official involved in the talks told the Times there is agreement among negotiators that Iran will not accept an immediate shutdown. "We have all agreed that is simply not going to work - experience tells us the Iranians are not going to buy it," then official said. "So we are going to start with some interim steps, to build a little trust." The officials told the Times the proposals are intended to involve Iran in nuclear talks in which it has refused to participate in the past. AFP adds: The White House said the Times report was not accurate. "This would not be the first time that I have stood at this podium, having read something in the newspaper that I found to be not accurate," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.