Iran General NewsU.S.'s Bodman encouraged by Iran comments

U.S.’s Bodman encouraged by Iran comments

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Reuters: U.S. Energy Secretary Sam Bodman on Friday called “encouraging” comments from Iran’s president on a set of incentives and penalties aimed at convincing Tehran to abandon its nuclear program. WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Energy Secretary Sam Bodman on Friday called “encouraging” comments from Iran’s president on a set of incentives and penalties aimed at convincing Tehran to abandon its nuclear program.

But the State Department was more guarded, with spokesman Sean McCormack saying he did not want to comment on “rhetoric” coming out of Iran and that Washington would wait for Tehran’s formal response.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in Shanghai earlier on Friday that the nuclear package was a “step forward” and his government was seriously considering it.

“I find it encouraging,” Bodman said of Ahmadinejad’s remarks.

The Iranian president did not say when Tehran would officially respond to the package offered by six major powers under which Iran would get trade and technology benefits if it halts uranium enrichment work.

“I would expect a timely response to what their views are and I hope they will be forthcoming,” Bodman told reporters following a speech to the National Academies.

Bodman said he did not know “the specifics” of any timetable the Bush administration might have for Iran to respond to the package.

The State Department’s McCormack reiterated that Iran had “weeks and not months” to respond.

“We would urge them to carefully consider their response. And we hope that it is a positive one, and that they meet the conditions that the international community has laid out for them,” McCormack told reporters.

The offer from the United States, Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia to Iran to give up its uranium enrichment program was delivered to Tehran earlier this month.

The West is worried Iran is pursing the uranium program to eventually build an atomic bomb, even though Tehran insists it is seeking nuclear power only to boost electricity supplies.

If Iran rejects the package, the United States is expected to push hard for sanctions against the oil rich country at the UN Security Council.

(Additional reporting by Sue Pleming)

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