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Iran's President Rejects EU Nuclear Incentive Plan


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has rejected a planned European Union package of incentives for curbing Iran's nuclear program.

The Iranian leader disdainfully rejected the European proposal to offer Iran enticements to halt its nuclear work.

"They say they want to give us incentives," he said. "Do you think you are dealing with a four-year-old child, to whom you can give walnuts and chocolate in exchange for gold?"

European Union officials are working on a package of economic and technical incentives aimed at coaxing Iran to voluntarily give up uranium enrichment. The deal includes a European-built light-water nuclear reactor.

But in a nationally televised speech from the central city of Arak, Mr. Ahmadinejad said nothing will persuade Iran to freeze its nuclear program.

Arak is the proposed site of a heavy-water reactor that Iran wants to build over the objections of Western nations.

Experts say a heavy-water reactor produces plutonium as a by-product and could be more easily misused for weapons production than a light-water reactor.

Mr. Ahmadinejad repeated his previous warnings about Iran's possible response if the U.N. Security Council imposes sanctions.

"Do not force governments and nations to renounce their membership in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty," he said.

Tehran says its wants only to produce peaceful nuclear energy. The United States, Britain and France believe Iran's real goal is building a nuclear weapon.

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has encouraged Iran to evaluate the European incentives package before making up its mind. He told reporters in Tokyo that he hopes nuclear diplomacy will resume, and all parties will come to the table with open minds.

The European incentive plan was supposed to be reviewed Friday in London by the five permanent Security Council members plus Germany. But that meeting has reportedly been postponed until next week.

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