New York Times: The United States and its European negotiating partners are preparing to repackage economic incentives aimed at inducing Iran to cooperate in eliminating its suspected nuclear weapons program, and to add some “new ideas” for Iran to consider, American and European officials said Tuesday. The New York Times
By STEVEN R. WEISMAN
UNITED NATIONS, May 9 The United States and its European negotiating partners are preparing to repackage economic incentives aimed at inducing Iran to cooperate in eliminating its suspected nuclear weapons program, and to add some “new ideas” for Iran to consider, American and European officials said Tuesday.
A senior State Department official said the “new ideas” would not substantially change the package of economic incentives offered to Iran last August, when the Europeans told the Iranians they could achieve a full political and economic relationship with the West if Iran ended its nuclear activities, which are suspected to be part of a weapons program.
He said that, contrary to some reports circulating Tuesday, the new package would not include security guarantees for Iran and would not allow it to continue enriching uranium, an activity that Iran defends as part of a nuclear energy program but that the United States views as a cover for a weapons program.
Disclosure of the new initiative on incentives came from European diplomats on Tuesday, following a full evening of discussions with American officials on Monday. Envoys from Russia and China also attended that session.
American officials say the evening discussions failed to break an impasse over the American, British and French drive for a United Nations Security Council resolution that would make it mandatory for Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment activities, stop construction of a heavy-water nuclear reactor and resume talks with the West.
Russia and China oppose such a resolution as too threatening and are likely to provoke a counterreaction, causing Iran to abandon all cooperation with international nuclear inspections.
European diplomats said one emphasis of the dinner on Monday, which was led by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, was a new effort to persuade Iran that the West was offering “carrots” as well as “sticks” to get it to change course.
“My point of view is that Iran must be faced with a choice,” Philippe Douste-Blazy, the French foreign minister, said in an interview. “If Iran is closed to our proposals, we are prepared to discuss deterrent measures. But it seems stupid for us not to stretch out our hand.”
Ms. Rice said lower-level diplomats would try to iron out differences on a Council resolution on Iran next week in London and possibly in further meetings after that. Separate discussions on presenting a package of incentives to Iran would also occur at that time.
The original incentives offered to Iran by the Europeans entailed restoration of economic and technical assistance for Iran’s development. As part of that package, the United States consented to let discussions start on Iran’s joining the World Trade Organization and receiving aircraft spare parts.