Reuters: The White House urged Iran on Thursday to take several days to carefully consider a U.S. offer of talks on its nuclear program, despite Tehran’s rejection of a U.S. condition it stop enriching uranium first. WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House urged Iran on Thursday to take several days to carefully consider a U.S. offer of talks on its nuclear program, despite Tehran’s rejection of a U.S. condition it stop enriching uranium first.
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino also said President George W. Bush spoke to Chinese President Hu Jintao by telephone about Iran. The conversation centred on the “way forward” in dealing with Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, another U.S. official said.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said in reaction to the U.S. offer on Wednesday that Tehran was open to talks on “mutual concerns,’ but rejected Washington’s pre-condition that it stop enriching uranium, the fuel for nuclear reactors and a vital component in atomic bombs.
Perino said the U.S. was reserving judgement until after a meeting of the five permanent U.N. Security Council powers plus Germany in Vienna on Thursday seeking an agreement on incentives for Iran to scrap potentially weapons-related nuclear work.
“We would hope over the next several days they (Iran) would take some time and carefully consider it,” Perino said, referring to the U.S. offer of joining multilateral negotiations.
Washington and its allies suspect Iran is seeking to develop a nuclear weapon but Iran, the world’s fourth largest oil exporter, insists its nuclear program is aimed purely at producing energy.