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Iran needs more time to think over offer: US

Written by: Staff

Washington, June 6: The Bush administration says Iran should be given time to consider a package of incentives, aimed at halting the country's nuclear enrichment and reprocessing activities, according to White House spokesman Tony Snow.

He told reporters at a briefing yesterday that Tehran needs to think over the offer and their first response may not be the last.

''I would counsel patience. At this point, as we've said all along, let's give it time. Let's let the Iranians take a look at what the offers are, at the incentives and disincentives,'' Mr Snow said adding that ''I would caution against leaping to conclusions, until the leadership in Iran has actually had an opportunity to look over the packages of incentives and disincentives offered by the EU-3 with the support of the United States.'' The plan was drafted by the three European nations that have been negotiating the nuclear issue with Iran - Britain, France and Germany - with the backing of the United States, Russia and China.

Details of the package have not been formally released.

The White House spokesman predicted a number of statements coming out of Iran before Tehran gives its final answer. He said, at the moment, the White House was neither optimistic nor pessimistic, but had hope.

''It is easy to make comments into a vacuum, and my sense is that, again, the Iranians are going to realise this is a serious offer, and it is an offer that offers great promise for them,'' Mr Snow said.

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana is expected to formally present the package to the Iranian government in Tehran today.

Last week, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged Iran to give careful consideration to the plan, but indicated Tehran would not have an indefinite amount of time to respond.

Iranian officials indicated they planned to study the document, but stressed that they had no plans to suspend uranium enrichment, which they considered as their national right.


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