Iran General NewsChirac Urges Bush to Offer Iran Incentives

Chirac Urges Bush to Offer Iran Incentives

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Reuters: French President Jacques Chirac said Tuesday he had urged President Bush to help European negotiations to curb Iran’s nuclear program by offering incentives on trade and aviation. “It seems to me legitimate to make a gesture in the area of Iran’s bid for WTO membership and wish to buy civil aircraft engines,” Chirac told a news conference after talks with Bush on Monday night.
Reuters

BRUSSELS – French President Jacques Chirac said Tuesday he had urged President Bush to help European negotiations to curb Iran’s nuclear program by offering incentives on trade and aviation.

“It seems to me legitimate to make a gesture in the area of Iran’s bid for WTO membership and wish to buy civil aircraft engines,” Chirac told a news conference after talks with Bush on Monday night.

“I don’t see why that shouldn’t be done and I said so to the president of the United States,” he added.

France, Britain and Germany are trying to coax Tehran to end uranium enrichment activities, which Washington says are part of a covert drive to build a bomb.

Chirac said they had achieved a positive first step by persuading Iran to suspend those activities while they negotiate a long-term agreement on trade and nuclear cooperation.

He said Europe and the United States stood united against the spread of nuclear weapons, and the EU3 diplomatic initiative with Tehran was being carried out in “perfect transparency” with Washington and Moscow.

Iran has insisted it will never abandon its right to nuclear technology including uranium enrichment but denies it seeks atomic weapons.

Bush insisted in a speech Monday that Iran must cut off alleged support for terrorism and disavow nuclear arms. In a thinly veiled reference to the possibility of military action, he said “no option can be taken permanently off the table.”

However, he said Washington was working closely with the three EU heavyweights, which are offering Tehran trade and political benefits if it gives up uranium enrichment.

The Europeans have been pressing the United States to actively support their diplomatic approach, and Chirac’s comments were the first indication of the kind of incentives they want Washington to offer Tehran.

The civil aircraft engine market is dominated by three large companies, General Electric, Pratt and Whitney and Rolls Royce, two of which are American and the third of which is subject to U.S. pressure over technology transfers.

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