EU Presents Modified Package of Incentives as Iran Reaffirms Right to Nuclear Program

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana on Saturday presented Iran a modified package of incentives to suspend uranium enrichment, even as Tehran reaffirmed its right to do just that.

Iran's government spokesman, Gholam Hossein Elham, immediately said Iran won't accept the package if it asks Iran to suspend uranium enrichment.

Solana's spokeswoman, Cristina Gallach, said Solana presented the package to Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki Saturday.

"Mr. Solana handed over the package," Gallach told The Associated Press by telephone.

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."

Asked if Iran will agree to stop sensitive nuclear work, Elham said Iran will never do so.

"If suspension is included in the package, it won't be considered at all," IRNA quoted Gholam Hossein Elham as saying Saturday. "The position of the Islamic Republic of Iran is clear. Preconditions can't be raised for any halt or suspension."

Solana met Mottaki Saturday morning and was expected to meet Iran's top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili later in the day.

Elham said there was no plan for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to meet Solana.

"Solana's mission is to present the proposed package. There is no other meetings on the agenda," IRNA quoted him as saying.

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.

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.

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.