AP: Britain has come up with a plan to bring the United States into talks with Iran over its nuclear program and may float the idea Monday at a high-level diplomatic meeting outside the U.N. Security Council, a U.N. diplomat said yesterday. Assicated Press
By George Jahn
VIENNA, Austria (AP) – Britain has come up with a plan to bring the United States into talks with Iran over its nuclear program and may float the idea Monday at a high-level diplomatic meeting outside the U.N. Security Council, a U.N. diplomat said yesterday.
With Washington now ready to meet with Iran over Iraq, any such plan put forward by a staunch ally may offer the Americans a face-saving way to talk to Tehran about its nuclear program after years of refusing direct contacts on the issue.
The diplomat, who is well-informed about international efforts to pressure Iran to make concessions on its nuclear program, spoke on condition of anonymity because the strategy was confidential. He said the British proposal would have the five permanent U.N. Security Council members sit at the same table with the Iranians, along with Germany.
The British are planning to make the proposal at a meeting of senior government officials from China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States, the diplomat told The Associated Press.
They would offer Tehran a package of unspecified incentives in exchange for a negotiated settlement on Iranian plans for uranium enrichment, the diplomat said.
A White House spokesman said yesterday he would not speculate on the possible outcomes of Monday’s meeting. He said the United States will be discussing the issue in the Security Council and with members of the international community, which has sent a clear warning to Iran about its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Iran says its program is for generating electricity.
Any talks with U.S. involvement would probably need to focus on economic and security guarantees meant to reassure Tehran that Washington has no plans to force regime change. Critics of U.S. policy have maintained for years that Tehran was unlikely to compromise on its nuclear program without such a direct guarantee.
While not discounting such a British plan, two other U.N. diplomats who have been following the issue less directly said they were unaware of it.