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Iran Rejects Nuclear Compromise

  • Marlene Smith

Iran has rejected a European incentive package designed to end the standoff on its controversial nuclear program. A government spokesman called the European proposal "unacceptable" and said it did not meet Iran's "minimum expectations." The Iranian rejection comes as U.N. inspectors are preparing to leave their Vienna headquarters for the Islamic Republic.

IAEA spokesman, Peter Rickwood, said a small team will depart for Tehran, Sunday evening.

"There will be technicians in Iran early next week and they will be installing surveillance equipment," said Mr. Rickwood.

The IAEA is to monitor a uranium conversion facility where Iran wants to restart nuclear activities which Western nations fear could be part of a bomb program.

Tehran says it only wants energy for peaceful purposes and insists it has a right to uranium conversion, something which is not banned by IAEA rules.

The U.N. nuclear watchdog has called on Iran to suspend this activity as a measure to build confidence until it can give assurances that the entire program is indeed peaceful.

France, Britain and Germany have been trying to encourage Iranian cooperation with a package of security assurances as well as offers to share nuclear technology.

In rejecting the European incentive package, chief negotiator for Iran, Hossein Mousavian, said the European proposals do not contain an acknowledgment of Iran's right to master the fuel cycle.

Frustrated with the lack of progress on the issue, the European powers this week pushed for an emergency session of the IAEA board scheduled for next Tuesday which the Europeans hope will make Iran understand the gravity of the situation if it goes ahead with sensitive parts of its nuclear program.