EU trio to support civilian nuclear power for Iran

12th May 2006, Comments 0 comments

13 May 2006, BRUSSELS - A package of trade and technology incentives being drafted by key European nations in a new bid to make Iran halt uranium enrichment will include backing for Tehran's development of civilian nuclear activities, European diplomats said Friday.

13 May 2006

BRUSSELS - A package of trade and technology incentives being drafted by key European nations in a new bid to make Iran halt uranium enrichment will include backing for Tehran's development of civilian nuclear activities, European diplomats said Friday.

The package, currently being drawn up by Germany, France and Britain - the European Union trio seeking a diplomatic solution to the current crisis with Iran - could include the offer to sell Iran a nuclear reactor for generating electricity, the diplomats said.

"This is about support for peaceful non-proliferation nuclear activities in Iran," said a European diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Other aspects of the package will include more cooperation in science and technology, trade benefits including the resumption of negotiations of a trade deal with the European Union and support for Tehran's bid to join the World Trade Organization, the diplomat said.

Details of the deal will be discussed by French, German and British foreign ministers at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels on 15 May.

Diplomats said the EU was working on an offer to Tehran which would be difficult to refuse. A similar EU package of incentives was, however, rejected by Iranian leaders last autumn.

Final details of the package, which will include stringent safeguards to ensure the civilian nuclear programme is not misused for military purposes, is expected to be finalised on May 19.

Backing for the EU move is expected to come from Russia and China which as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, have a veto on any decision on sanctions against Tehran.

The US has also said in recent days that it prefers diplomacy in dealing with Iran, although officials insist that all options - including military action - are still on the table.

EU officials said the bloc's foreign ministers next week would reiterate the bloc's preference for a diplomatic solution to the standoff with Iran.

"We support Iran's right to have a civilian nuclear programme," said another EU official.

Separately, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on Friday also urged the US to join the Europeans in seeking a solution with Iran.

The switch to diplomacy follows a move by France and Britain, backed by the US, on May to present a UN resolution that would make it mandatory for Iran to stop uranium enrichment and come clean on its nuclear programme.

Russia and China balked because the draft invoked the UN charter's Chapter 7, which allows sanctions or military force to settle disputes.

Europeans and the US accuse Iran of building nuclear weapons, a charge that Tehran vehemently denies.

DPA

Subject: German news

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