Bush disappointed as Iran rejects new package of incentives
Talks between Iranian officials and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana may have provided a new solution to Iran's nuclear crisis, Iranian sources claimed on Saturday. "Both sides have reached a preliminary agreement on common issues presented in the G5+1 package of incentives and Iran's proposals package," a top Iranian official told IRNA.
The package prepared by the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany requires Iran to renounce its rights to uranium enrichment in exchange for economic and diplomatic incentives. "A diplomatic path has been created... this can be the basis for fresh nuclear talks," the official added.
An EU diplomat who attended the talks told Reuters that Solana and Iranian officials agreed on Saturday to press on with efforts to resolve the dispute over Tehran's nuclear program.
Earlier, Solana handed Iran an offer of trade and other benefits, but Tehran ruled out any such suspension. "Iran's view is clear: any precondition is unacceptable," government spokesman Gholamhossein Elham said when asked about the package of incentives offered by the United States, China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany. "If the package includes suspension it is not debatable at all," he told reporters.
Although Iran has not officially rejected the offer, President George W. Bush said he was disappointed when asked about Elham's statement during a visit to Paris. "I am disappointed that the Iranian leaders rejected this generous offer out of hand," Bush told a joint news conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, adding it was a sign that Iran's leadership was willing to isolate its people further.