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6/22/06

Annan: Iran Seriously Considering Nuclear Offer

By VOA News

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan says he believes Iran is seriously considering an international offer of incentives aimed at resolving the standoff over its nuclear program.

Mr. Annan made the remark at a news conference in Geneva Thursday, after talks with visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki.

The U.N. chief said he also discussed the timing of Iran's official response, but no specific dates were mentioned.

On Wednesday, the Iranian foreign minister said on an Italian television that no deadline was agreed to when the European Union's foreign-policy chief, Javier Solana, presented the incentives package to authorities in Tehran on June 6.

But President Bush says Iran's plan to respond to the offer in late August is "an awful long time" to wait for an answer.

Meanwhile, Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema, who met his Iranian counterpart in Rome, says he does not think Iran is on the verge of developing nuclear weapons.

Also on Wednesday, President Bush again pledged that the United States is willing to join international talks on the matter if Iran first suspends uranium enrichment.

Speaking in Vienna after a one-day summit with European Union leaders, Mr. Bush said the major world powers are united in the effort to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

The five permanent U.N. Security Council members - the U.S., Britain, France, China and Russia - and Germany approved the package of incentives for Iran, offered in exchange for Tehran suspending uranium enrichment and returning to talks on its nuclear program.

The U.S. and Europe believe Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons - a charge Tehran denies.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

... Payvand News - 6/22/06 ... --



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