EU Foreign Policy Chief Calls Modified Iran Nuke Incentives 'Generous'

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said Friday the modified package of incentives he will present to Iranian nuclear negotiators during his visit to Tehran this weekend is generous and comprehensive.

Before leaving for Iran on Friday, Solana said the plan — which he is presenting on behalf of the United States, Germany, Britain, France, Russia and China — "aims to address Iran's essential interests."

In a statement, he said: "I am traveling to Tehran to present a generous and comprehensive offer. With this offer, the EU and the six countries I represent show their desire to develop a constructive and cooperative relationship with Iran in the nuclear field and in many other areas." He added that the package "is designed to support Iran in developing a modern nuclear energy program."

Solana and the six countries had spent the last few weeks discussing a new round of talks with the Iranians during which Solana would present the reworked package.

He is scheduled to meet Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, on Saturday in Tehran.

On Monday in Luxembourg, Solana will brief EU foreign ministers about those talks.

U.S. President George W. Bush is currently using his visit to European countries to once again seek support for trying to negotiate an end to Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program.

But on Wednesday, Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Bush a "wicked man," and told a public rally in Iran that the U.S. leader has set out to damage the Islamic republic but failed to halt its nuclear program and would not succeed in his goal of attacking it.

The EU and the six nations are seeking new ways of persuading Iran to shut down its uranium enrichment program, which they suspect will be used to make nuclear weapons. Three sets of U.N. sanctions have failed to bring any change.

Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful, civilian use only.

Solana said the incentive package includes plans to forge "a future political relationship, economic cooperation and other areas of mutual interest."

The six nations first offered a package of economic, technological and political incentives to Tehran nearly two years ago on condition that it suspend enrichment, which can be used both to generate nuclear fuel or to make the fissile core of nuclear warheads.

Iran has refused a freeze during on-again, off-again talks with Solana.

The repackaged incentives were agreed on last month in what diplomats called mainly cosmetic changes to the original 2006 offer, while maintaining the threat of further U.N. sanctions.