Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Iran to offer incentives to Europe for recognizing nuclear right

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said on Wednesday that Tehran would offer economic incentives to the European Union in return for its recognition of Iran's right to enriching uranium for peaceful purposes.

"We are ready to offer our market to Europe as an incentive for recognizing Iran's peaceful nuclear energy," Asefi said on the sidelines of a Majlis (parliament) open session, adding that Iran's 70-million population would provide a big market for Europe. READ MORE

Three major European Union powers -- Britain, France and Germany -- plan to offer Iran a light-water reactor along with trade and technology benefits to persuade Tehran to give up uranium enrichment which can be used to fuel nuclear power plantas well as to make atom bomb.

Iran's hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reiterated Wednesday that Iran would reject a deal with the European Union,which plans to offer incentives in exchange for Iran's halting uranium enrichment.

He accused the EU of taking away Iran's "gold" and giving "nuts and chocolate" in exchange.

"We don't need incentives. There is no need to give us incentives. Just don't try to wrong us," he stressed. The spokesman said that Iran was still waiting for Europe's new proposal on resolving the current nuclear standoff, but claimed that Iran would not exchange its nuclear rights with the European incentives.

"Iran has received no official offer yet, the proposal is just being talked about in the press." Asefi said.

"We will not exchange our rights with incentives that the Europeans may offer. They should first recognize our rights" and we will consider their offer, he was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Tuesday that Iran was open to any proposal to resolve the nuclear issue as long as its "legal and inalienable rights" under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) were recognized.