Wednesday, June 14, 2006

U.S. Tells Iran EU's Nuclear Offer Will Assure Its Security

Jonathan Tirone, Bloomberg:
The U.S. urged Iran to accept a European Union offer of trade and technology benefits, in exchange for dropping its nuclear ambitions, to assure the Islamic Republic's long-term security. ``Iran has a clear choice, a positive path that brings real benefits and long-term security to the Iranian people,'' U.S. Ambassador Greg Schulte said today in Vienna. Iran faces ``further steps'' before the United Nations Security Council if it doesn't accept the offer.

Iran has been reviewing EU trade and economic incentives to get it to stop making nuclear fuel since June 6. The U.S. accuses Iran of developing a bomb in violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty; Iran maintains the program is aimed at generating electricity in compliance with the accord.

The U.S. rejected an offer from Iran to limit the scale of its uranium enrichment. Iran is open to negotiations on the ``percentage and level'' of enrichment, Kazem Jalali, spokesman for the Iranian parliament's national security and foreign policy commission, said yesterday in Tehran. READ MORE

``The call for Iran to suspend enrichment related and reprocessing activities in order to enter into negotiations is a condition set by the international community,'' Schulte said. Schulte leads the U.S. mission to the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.

The U.S. has offered to join in direct talks with Iran, ending a 27-year diplomatic embargo, if Iran stops its enrichment program. Uranium enriched to 90 percent can form the core of an atomic bomb. Lower levels yield fuel for nuclear generators.

Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki today called the EU proposal ``very positive,'' Agence-France Presse reported. Mottaki was speaking in Madrid before meeting with Spain's Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Tirone in Vienna at