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Iran Insists European Offer Must Recognize Enrichment Right

Iran on Saturday warned that new European incentives to find a deal over its atomic program would only be of interest if the offer recognized the country's right to uranium enrichment.

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Iran says uranium enrichment is its right

"Any incentive that does not include Iran's right to nuclear technology and the ways to secure it will not have any attraction for the Iranian people and government," the IRNA agency quoted Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki as telling reporters in Indonesia.

He also warned the Europeans "not to make the same mistake" they did last August when they came up with a list of incentives that also asked Iran to give up uranium enrichment.

"We hope that our case will be dealt in a way that Iran's right to peaceful nuclear technology will be recognized... It is then that Iran will provide its utmost cooperation," he said in Bali, where he is attending summit of the D-8 developing countries with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

European Union efforts since 2003 to win guarantees that Iran is not making nuclear weapons have foundered, with Iran pushing ahead since April on enriching uranium. This sensitive process is used to make nuclear reactor fuel but in highly enriched form the uranium can form the explosive core of an atomic bomb.


New incentives

The United States charges that Iran is using its nuclear program, which Tehran insists is a peaceful effort to generate electricity, to hide the development of nuclear weapons.

Der iranische Präsident Ahmadinedschad in Indonesien

Ahmadinejad (l.) with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Jakart

Washington's European allies have spearheaded negotiations with the Iranians and are currently preparing a new package of trade, security and technological incentives to try to entice Tehran away from uranium enrichment.

Diplomats said negotiators from the Security Council's permanent members -- the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France -- plus Germany planned to meet in London on May 19 to weigh a new package of incentives as well as penalties.

Tehran has rejected a previous offer of incentives, including desperately needed civilian aircraft parts and support for World Trade Organization membership, insisting on its right to enrich uranium on its soil.

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