Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

WEB NEWS

"Ice Bucket Challenge" angers anti-abortion activists

Read more

ENCORE!

An art wonderland: A burnt-out piano, a bed in a box and a giant magic mushroom

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Historian Jean Garrigues: 'For the first time, Hollande knows what he is doing'

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'Macron-economy' pun already worn out

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War (part 2)

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

New French economy minister signals changes to 35-hour week

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Valls ♥ Business

Read more

FOCUS

Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

Read more

  • Russian troops have entered Ukraine, says Kiev

    Read more

  • Assad cannot be partner in fight against terrorism, says Hollande

    Read more

  • New Ebola case in Nigeria brings death toll to 1,552

    Read more

  • Video: 'Neither Baghdad nor the US can defeat the Islamic State'

    Read more

  • Platini will not run against Blatter for FIFA presidency

    Read more

  • Air France pilots announce week-long strike in September

    Read more

  • Erdogan's inauguration paves way for constitutional change

    Read more

  • New French economy minister takes swipe at 35-hour work week

    Read more

  • Air France suspends flights to Ebola-stricken Sierra Leone

    Read more

  • Uzi shooting by 9-year-old rekindles gun debate

    Read more

  • Mother of American journalist asks IS leader for his release

    Read more

  • UN probe accuses Syrian regime, Islamists of ‘crimes against humanity’

    Read more

  • Uruguayans sign up to grow marijuana at home

    Read more

  • Missouri governor appoints black public safety director

    Read more

  • French unemployment rises 0.8% in July to record high

    Read more

  • Video: Iraq’s Yazidis flee to spiritual capital of Lalish

    Read more

  • Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

    Read more

  • Airstrikes and Assad - Obama’s military conundrum in Syria

    Read more

Iran appears to reject nuclear deal

Latest update : 2008-06-16

Hours after the EU foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, offered Iran another nuclear deal, Tehran rejected suspending uranium enrichment, a crucial issue. Solana will wait for a final answer, but expectations for a breakthrough are low.

Iran was considering on Sunday the latest offer from world powers to end the standoff over its contested nuclear drive but expectations are low after it appeared to reject one of the key conditions.
  
On Saturday, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana presented Iran with the proposal, which offers Tehran talks on a range of technological and economic incentives if it suspends sensitive uranium enrichment activities.
  
"I hope that the answer will be soon and positive," Solana told a news conference at the end of his one-day visit to Tehran.
  
The package, drawn up by the permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany, aims to resolve a crisis that has raised fears of a regional conflict, pushed up oil prices and seen Iran hit by UN sanctions.
  
Solana said the offer was "full of opportunities for Iran" and he hoped it would be the "starting point for the real negotiations."
  
But just hours into Solana's visit, Iran's government spokesman bluntly rejected the main condition of the offer -- that Tehran suspend uranium enrichment, a process that can be used to make a nuclear bomb.
  
"Iran's stance is clear. The precondition of a halt and suspension of nuclear activities cannot be brought up," Gholam Hossein Elham said.
  
But Solana said "we continue to ask for a suspension during the time of negotiations and we will see the outcome of negotiations. The negotiations will take months."
  
US President George W. Bush intervened even before Solana gave his news conference, saying Elham's comments amounted to an outright rejection of the package.
  
"I am disappointed that the leaders rejected this generous offer out of hand," he said after talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
  
"It is an indication to the Iranian people that their leadership is willing to isolate them further."
  
Expectations of a breakthrough had been low, especially after repeated vows by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Tehran would never back down.
  
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki indicated the Iranian response would depend on how the West receives Iran's own package put forward last month offering solutions to a string of world problems.
  
That package suggests the creation of consortiums to enrich uranium around the world, "including in Iran".
  
"The response of Iran to the package of the 5+1 world powers will be given taking into account a constructive and logical response of the world powers to Iran's own package," Mottaki said after talks with Solana.
  
Elham said Iran will make its decision on the package "after a precise examination."
  
However, the offer makes it clear that Iran must suspend enrichment if it is to enter into negotiations with world powers.
  
"The elements are proposed as topics for negotiations ... as long as Iran verifiably suspends its enrichment related and reprocessing activities," the text read.
  
The West wants Iran to halt enrichment over fears it could use the process to make an atomic bomb. Tehran insists it has every right to enrich uranium to manufacture fuel for future power plants.
  
The price of failure in the talks could be high.
  
A US State Department official, who asked not to be named, warned that rejection of the package by Tehran would mean "further isolation of Iran and would lead to further international sanctions."
  
The United States has also never ruled out military action and Bush warned this week that "all options" were still open.
  
Iran, OPEC's number two producer, vehemently rejects Western allegations it is seeking nuclear weapons, saying it wants only electricity for a growing population whose fossil fuels will eventually run out.
  
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been investigating the nuclear drive for over five years but has never been able to conclude whether the programme is peaceful.
  
The offer, is a "refreshed" version of an offer presented by Solana in June 2006, recognises Iran's "right to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes."
  
It also offers a range of technological and economic incentives, including support for the construction of light water reactors, help with supplying nuclear fuel and the normalisation of economic relations with the West.

Date created : 2008-06-15

COMMENT(S)