Tehran’s defiance dismays int’l efforts to solve nuclear issue

By Xinhua,

Beijing : Iran will not support any deal that violates its “nuclear rights,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini said Monday, three days after major powers agreed to offer a new package of incentives to resolve the country’s nuclear issue.

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“Incentives that in anyway violate our interests and our rights will not be supported by us,” Hosseini told a news conference broadcast and translated on Iran’s English-language Press TV.

He made the remarks when asked about a plan by six world powers to offer a new package of incentives to coax Tehran into rolling back its nuclear program.

“Regarding the incentives package … we believe the path adopted in the past should not be continued,” Hosseini said. “They should act based on realities and international regulations.”

Hosseini’s comments are the latest sign from Tehran that it has no intention of giving ground on uranium enrichment.

Last Friday, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said major countries negotiating with Iran have agreed on a revamped offer of incentives.

“We’ve got an agreement on an offer that will be made to the government of Iran,” he said following a meeting of foreign ministers of five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany in London.

Miliband added that the details of the offer could not be revealed so far, saying the ministers have just had a “positive and productive meeting” to talk about the next steps in “our approach to the grave problem that we see in respect of Iran’s nuclear program.”

He said the parties will transmit the offer to the Iranian government, hoping that Tehran will recognize the seriousness and the sincerity with which the parties approached this issue and that Iran will respond “in a timely manner” to the offer.

The six parties have promised to expand the package of political, security and economic incentives they put on the table in June 2006 if Iran suspends its uranium enrichment.

The incentives put together in 2006 included an offer by the United States to provide Iran with peaceful nuclear technology, lift some sanctions and conduct direct negotiations with Tehran.

Although no details of the new proposal have been made available yet, Russia said that world powers were asking Tehran only to suspend uranium enrichment during the period of talks.

However, in the past years, Iran has repeatedly said it would not bow to Western pressure over the country’s “legal right” to uranium enrichment work, a key nuclear process whose product could be fuel for a power plant or could be made into an atomic bomb.

On Sunday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei vowed to continue his country’s nuclear drive amid international pressure to halt.

“Iran will not allow the arrogant countries to deny the nation’s right … we have chosen our path of perfection, honor, complete independence,” Khamenei was quoted by Iran’s state media as saying.

“Threats cannot make us retreat on the path,” he added.

In Paris, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said the new offer was very generous and should not be rejected out of hand.

“They are refusing a text which is extremely generous in my opinion, so I find it a bit premature that they are refusing it without having seen it,” Kouchner told reporters.

Asked if the text had been presented to the Iranians, he said, “Not yet, that’s why I can’t give you the details.”

Representatives from these major powers would travel to Tehran “in the coming days” to submit the offer, Kouchner added.