A top U.S. diplomat says Washington expects Iran to give its formal response next week to an international offer of incentives for Tehran to suspend uranium enrichment and return to nuclear talks with the West.
Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns told reporters in Brussels Friday he expects an Iranian response at a meeting between its chief negotiator Ali Larijani and European Union foreign policy chief, Javier Solana. That meeting is set for Wednesday, July 5.
However, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said at the United Nations Thursday that no one should expect an answer from Tehran until August.
Speaking through an interpreter at the U.N., Foreign Minister Mottaki said Iran needs more time to clarify what he called ambiguities in the package.
"We did not agree on any specific date to respond, it's emphasized that reviews will be careful, that's why different committees are considering different segments of this proposed package and as soon as it is prepared, which will naturally in initial reviews which I don't think would be earlier than August, we would make an announcement," he said.
Mottaki is at the United Nations to attend a conference on the illicit trade in small arms. He met with Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who urged him to respond quickly to the international offer of incentives.
Group of Eight foreign ministers meeting in Moscow Thursday also said they want a "clear and substantive" Iranian response by next week.
The United States and many of its European allies believe Iran is working to build nuclear weapons. Iran denies the charge.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.
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