Friday, August 05, 2005
AP: Europeans bait Iran to drop nukes
Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy, right, said he considered the proposals by France, Germany and Britain - which have been negotiating with Iran on behalf of the European Union - to be "ambitious and generous."
He said the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency, will meet in an extraordinary session in the middle of next week to discuss Iran.
"I hope that Iran will hear the voice of reason and that it will take the path of negotiation and dialogue, and that it will not move toward a resumption of nuclear activities," Douste-Blazy told Europe-1 radio.
"We are even ready to support a civilian, but of course, non-proliferating, nuclear program," the minister said, adding that negotiators also proposed technological, political and security cooperation.
The Europeans, backed by the United States, are offering the incentives in exchange for Iran resolving concerns that its nuclear program is aimed at producing weapons. Despite its large oil reserves, Iran insists it is interested only in producing nuclear power.
Douste-Blazy's ministry confirmed the incentives had been submitted to Tehran on Friday but declined to give details, saying France wanted to give Iran time to study them.
All of this is happening as the talks with North Korea are drawing to a crucial, and so far unpredictable, end.
So is World War III imminent? Hardly.
Over reaction is exactly what these unlikely allies are fishing for. The coincidence of declared threats by both countries is a bit too convenient. By cranking the nuclear threat pressure simultaneously, both North Korea and Iran are hoping to walk away with the most handouts.
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