New York Times: The European Union’s foreign policy director, Javier Solana, arrived in Tehran on Monday night with incentives intended to resolve the nuclear crisis with Iran, including a proposal to allow Iran to upgrade its aging civilian air fleet through the purchase of aircraft parts from an American company, Boeing.
The New York Times
By HELENE COOPER
WASHINGTON, June 5 The European Union’s foreign policy director, Javier Solana, arrived in Tehran on Monday night with incentives intended to resolve the nuclear crisis with Iran, including a proposal to allow Iran to upgrade its aging civilian air fleet through the purchase of aircraft parts from an American company, Boeing.
The package, to be presented Tuesday to Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and to Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, is to include waiving trade sanctions against Iran to allow the purchase of American agricultural technology, said European diplomats and a senior Bush administration official.
The five permanent members of the Security Council Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany, agreed on the package last week in Vienna, but declined to make the proposal public.
Officials first wanted to present the package to Iranian authorities. But with Mr. Solana’s arrival in Tehran, several European and American diplomats described parts of the proposal, speaking anonymously because they were not authorized to comment publicly.
The offer includes a commitment from the six nations to support Iran’s plan for a nuclear energy program for civilian use, including building light-water reactors through joint projects with other countries, the diplomats said.
The United States and Europe also agreed to back Iran’s membership in the World Trade Organization.
The package is aimed at encouraging Iran to return to a freeze of its nuclear activities, including turning off the fast-spinning centrifuges that enrich uranium.
The most compelling item, though, may be the American offer to end its nearly three-decade policy against direct talks with Iran and to join in the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.
That proposal is the centerpiece of the administration’s recent shift in strategy toward Iran, which President Bush views as the No. 1 state sponsor of terrorism.
The decision to include the sale of Boeing aircraft parts, along with aircraft and parts from Airbus, is a huge step, particularly for the United States.
Since the 1979 revolution, Iran has been subject to American sanctions that hinder the purchase of spare parts for nearly all the planes in its air force, the civilian carrier Iran Air and domestic airlines. The sanctions cover not only American-made airplanes and parts, but also European planes like Airbus, when they use parts made in the United States.
Because Iran can shop only for used Airbus or Boeing planes, its civilian fleet is notorious for the age of planes and parts. Iranian officials regularly blame the sanctions for plane crashes.
The offers that Mr. Solana is to make are contingent on an agreement by Iran to suspend its enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, which the United States contends are a cover for developing nuclear arms.
If Iran does not agree to suspend those activities, the package includes possible “disincentives,” as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has described them in the past.
They include a travel ban against Iran’s ruling religious leaders and government officials involved in the nuclear program, and a freeze of Iranian financial assets abroad.
The package does not include any specific threat of military action should Iran refuse to suspend its uranium activities. If Iran rejects the offer, differences are likely to re-emerge among the six nations as they consider more specific punishments.
It was unclear whether the package includes a guarantee that the United States will not attack Iran if it agrees to suspend uranium enrichment.
An earlier version of the proposal contained three sentences to that effect, but they were a matter of intense debate in Vienna, and the diplomats would not say whether the wording remained in the final package. The United States has resisted giving those guarantees, while France and Russia have pushed for them.
A resolution is currently before the Security Council under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, which invokes the Council’s power to demand compliance of member countries and threaten punishment if they refuse.
But the emphasis of the package brought to Tehran by Mr. Solana is less on how to punish Iran than on how to reward it for agreeing to freeze its enrichment-related activities.
Before traveling to Tehran, Mr. Solana stopped in Israel, where he discussed the package with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Western diplomats say Israel backs the package.
“The proposal we bring along, the one that we carry, we think that will allow us to get engaged in that negotiation, based on trust and respect and confidence,” Mr. Solana said at the airport in Tehran.
Shortly after his arrival, Mr. Mottaki, the foreign minister, told reporters, “If their aim is not politicizing the issue, and if they consider our demand, we can reach a logical agreement with them.”
Iran has said it considers its nuclear program, which it insists is for peaceful purposes, a national right.