New York Times: The new British ambassador in Tehran urged President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today to give an “early response” to an international package presented to Iran aimed at ending a standoff over its nuclear program. The New York Times
By NAZILA FATHI
TEHRAN, June 26 The new British ambassador in Tehran urged President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today to give an “early response” to an international package presented to Iran aimed at ending a standoff over its nuclear program.
“We believe that our relationship should be based on mutual respect and principles of international law,” Geoffrey Adams, the British ambassador, told Mr. Ahmadinejad during a ceremony to present his credentials, an embassy statement said.
“We hope that Iran will play a full role in regional and international affairs. In that context, we believe that the recent proposals made by Mr. Solana constitute a sound basis for the resolution of the nuclear issue; and we look forward to the Iranian government’s early response,” he said in Persian, according to the statement carried on the embassy’s Web site.
Mr. Ahmadinejad said last week that Iran will give its response to the package by Aug. 22.
The package of proposals was handed over to Iran on June 6 and Western diplomats said Iran had only weeks to respond. The package, drafted by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany, offers Iran incentives to suspend its enrichment program or face penal measures.
Germany’s foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said today it was inconceivable that the six powers would wait another two months for a response, Reuters reported.
“They have had the offer for two weeks already,” Mr. Steinmeier was quoted as saying. “I hope a decision will be made soon in Tehran. I can’t imagine we would wait until Aug. 22,” he said.
Messages have been conveyed to Iran through friendly nations since Iran received the package, urging the country to give a favorable answer. Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Saud al-Faisa; the leader of Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, Abdul Aziz Hakim; and the Turkish foreign minister, Abdullah Gul, urged Iran to find diplomatic solution to the standoff.
“They are all bringing messages saying that this proposal is as good as you are going to get,” said one Western diplomat.
Mr. Gul said during a news conference in Tehran on Sunday that he had brought a message for Iran but refused to elaborate.
“All countries are trying to help resolve Iran’s nuclear issue peacefully, and diplomatic efforts can certainly create a positive environment and can be helpful,” Mr. Gul said, according to the ISNA student news agency. The hard-line daily newspaper Jomhouri Eslami hinted Sunday that Iran might agree to a three-month suspension of its enrichment program. The daily has close ties to the country’s supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final word on state matters.
“Some reports have quoted informed sources, without naming them, that Iran is preparing a response to the package and will agree to a three-month suspension,” the newspaper wrote in its “for your information” section.
The daily also added its own opinion, saying that it was unlikely that suspension would take place because senior officials have stressed that Iran will not give up enrichment.