Consensus reached on incentive package for Iran

Friday, June 2, 2006

In Vienna, top diplomats from the United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, France, and Germany reached an agreement on Thursday on an incentive package to offer to Iran in exchange for its giving up uranium enrichment.

The specifics of the incentive package were not revealed, but a delegation from Europe led by European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana is expected to formally deliver the offer to Iran in the coming days. Iran would then have several weeks to respond.

In a prepared statement, British foreign secretary Margaret Beckett said, "We have agreed on a set of far-reaching proposals as a basis for discussions with Iran. We believe they offer Iran the chance to reach a negotiated agreement based on cooperation."

Beckett did not mention any sanctions to be taken against Iran if it refuses to comply. The United Nations Security Council is expected to take up the question of sanctions should Iran turn down the offer.

The agreement comes a day after the United States offered to participate in multilateral negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program if Iran suspends its uranium enrichment program. Iran agreed to the idea of holding talks but rejected the preconditions.

In the first direct reaction by the Iranian government to the offer, Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Thursday; "Iran welcomes dialogue under just conditions but won't give up our rights," Iranian state-run television reported. "We won't negotiate about the Iranian nation's natural nuclear rights but we are prepared, within a defined, just framework and without any discrimination, to hold dialogue about common concerns," he said.