Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran to respond to int. nuclear proposals in afternoon

RIA Novosti

22/08/2006 14:21 MOSCOW, August 22 (RIA Novosti) - Iran will respond to proposals from six world powers aimed at resolving the longstanding nuclear dispute at 4 p.m. local time (11:30 a.m. GMT), an Iranian television channel said Tuesday referring to a senior security official in Tehran.

The five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany have drafted a package of incentives to persuade Iran to halt work on enriching uranium, which could be used in both electricity generation and weapons production.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana presented the offer to Tehran during a visit to Iran June 6, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad later said Iran would respond to the package of proposals August 22.

According to Al Alam satellite television, Ali Larijani, head of the influential Supreme National Security Council, will set out Tehran's position on the matter at a meeting with ambassadors from Russia, China, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and a Swiss diplomat representing the United States in the country.

Iran's nuclear program has been a source of major controversy since the beginning of the year, as many countries suspect the Islamic Republic of pursuing a covert weapons program under the pretext of civilian research, despite its claims to the contrary.

But the Islamic Republic's foreign minister said Sunday his country would not halt uranium enrichment.

"We won't suspend [uranium enrichment]. Everything has to come out of negotiations. Suspension of uranium enrichment is not on our agenda," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said.

The UN Security Council voted July 31 in favor of a resolution to set August 31 as a deadline for Iran to suspend all uranium enrichment activities. If Iran fails to fulfill the UN's demands, economic and diplomatic sanctions might be imposed on the Islamic Republic.

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