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Iran, EU at Odds Over Incentive Deadline

The EU will offer a set of measures to encourage Iran to respect its nuclear commitments once its new president has been sworn in on Aug. 3. Tehran, however, wants action before that date or it will go its own way.

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Iran's President Ahmadinejad has clouded the nuclear question

The European Union will offer Iran a package of measures in early August to encourage Tehran to respect its nuclear commitments once its new president has been sworn in, an

EU official said on Tuesday.

The package, which basically offers trade incentives to Iran for concessions on its nuclear ambitions, will probably be presented in the first week of the month by the EU's negotiating triumvirate; Germany, France and Britain, after hardliner Mahmood Ahmadinejad takes office on August 3.

"Then we have to hear the reaction," the official said. "We cannot call for a round of talks (with Iran) before the package has been presented."

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said talks would not take place until several weeks after the package is offered.

Joschka Fischer bei Jack Straw

Joschka Fischer (r.) and Jack Straw

The package, based on an agreement reached between Iran and the EU has three key elements: nuclear issues, political and security issues, and economic and technological cooperation.

The official said the bulk of the offer had already been shown to EU foreign ministers and was almost completed, but would provide no details on what it contained.

Iran wants action before EU's set date

However, Iran responded to the news by saying the European Union had until August 1 to present a proposal that would enable the country to produce nuclear fuel or Tehran will go its own way, a senior Iranian official said. Ali Aghamohammadi, spokesman for Iran's Supreme National Security Council, told state television there could be no backtracking on the right to atomic fuel.

"We have told the Europeans that there should not be any delay in submitting their proposals," Aghamohammadi said. "After Aug.1 we will make our decision."

Aghamohammadi reiterated that Iran had every right to master the production of nuclear fuel and that there is no way Tehran will give this up as a diplomatic gesture. "Some minimum requirements should be considered in the proposal," he said. "Otherwise we will not accept it."

"Lifting parts of the suspension is part of the minimum requirements," he said.

New president's stance on nukes still unclear

Der neue iranische Präsident Mahmud Ahmadinedschad

Der neue iranische Präsident Mahmud Ahmadinedschad grüßt Journalisten vor einer Pressekonferenz am 26.05.2005 in Teheran. Er will keine Kursänderung in den Verhandlungen mit der Europäischen Union (EU) über das umstrittene Atomprogramm seines Landes. Ich werde die Gespräche fortsetzen und weder den Kurs noch die Zusammensetzung der iranischen Delegation verändern, sagte Ahmadinedschad am Sonntag (26.06.) vor Journalisten in Teheran. Foto: Abedin Taherkenareh dpa +++(c) dpa - Report+++

Iran's position on its nuclear policy has been unclear since Ahmadinejad was elected president in June. Tehran insists that its nuclear program is purely peaceful despite US claims it is seeking atomic weapons.

The EU trio have warned Iran they will join Washington in seeking U.N. Security Council action if Tehran makes good on its threats to resume nuclear activities.

Iran strongly denies U.S. accusations it is trying to build atomic weapons and says its nuclear facilities will only be used as part of a civilian energy program. Iran froze all uranium fuel work last November as part of an agreement with the EU troika.

The Islamic state has repeatedly said that it would resume uranium enrichment-related activities if talks fail with the European Union over the long-term future of its disputed nuclear program.

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