Photo: AFP
Iranian nuclear plant. Uranium enrichment to be approved?
Photo: AFP

Iran offered possibility of enriching uranium

Incentive package presented to Iran offers Tehran possibility to carry out uranium enrichment in its territory, if IAEA determines country's nuclear program is 'peaceful'

The United States and Europe have offered Iran the possibility of carrying out uranium enrichment activities in its territory if it meets certain stringent conditions, The Washington Post said.


Contained in the "carrots and sticks" package presented to Iran on Tuesday by the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia, the proposal says that Iran has to satisfy International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors and the UN Security Council, European and US officials told the daily.


The IAEA must determine "with confidence" that Iran's nuclear program is peaceful and the council must be satisfied that Iran is not seeking a nuclear weapon, the officials said.


The offer is a policy reversal for Washington, which up to now has insisted that Iran abandon its uranium enrichment program - which can be used in making a nuclear weapon - before it joins international talks on Tehran's nuclear ambitions.


'Regime can have enrichment at home'


"We are basically now saying that over the long haul, if they restore confidence, that this Iranian regime can have enrichment at home," said one US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.


"But they have to answer every concern given all that points to a secret weapons program."


The decision to allow Iran to pursue its uranium enrichment program, came after weeks of intense and high-level discussions in Washington and in Tehran aimed at deflecting confrontation.


"Each side has taken a more serious look at what the other wants and how compromise can be reached," a Western diplomat told The Washington Post.


A US official who asked not to be identified said that, in Washington's view, the possibility for Iran to one day enrich uranium was "a very important part of the deal, and it's what will allow Iran to accept it."


"Iran always spun previous offers as an attempt to keep it from exercising its rights to enrich. Now that is explicitly not the case," the official added.


Iran: Proposal contains positive steps


Iran gave a cautious reception on Tuesday to the international proposal, saying the offer contained "positive steps" but also "ambiguities".


US President George W. Bush cautiously welcomed Iran's "positive" initial reaction.


"We will see if the Iranians take our offer seriously. The choice is theirs to make," Bush said Tuesday in Texas. "I want to solve this issue with Iran diplomatically."


In a separate report, ABC television news said Tuesday the international proposal included possible guarantees for Iran's "territorial integrity," in another possible reversal of a US policy that refused to rule out military action against Iran if it persisted on its alleged path to nuclear weapons.


פרסום ראשון: 06.07.06, 13:11
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