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China Prods Iran To Accept Nuclear Offer

August 16, 2006 -- China has urged Iran to accept an international offer of economic and other incentives to suspend sensitive nuclear activities.

Assistant Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai, who is on a visit to Tehran, told Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, that China hoped Iran would respond to the package "in a positive way."

His comments came after Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad said Tehran would not yield to international pressure to give up its nuclear technology.

Iran has said it would respond by August 22 to the incentives package.

But world powers have suggested that was too long, and a UN Security Council resolution passed in late July demanded that Tehran halt uranium-enrichment activities by August 31 or face possible sanctions.

Some Western governments have accused Iran of having a clandestine nuclear-weapons effort, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has criticized Iranian officials for failing to present convincing evidence to demonstrate that Tehran's nuclear program is strictly civilian.

(AP, Reuters, Xinhua)

Copyright (c) 2006. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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