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Bush Administration Shifting Policy on Iran

The Bush administration, in a policy shift, says it will support a European proposal to offer Iran limited economic incentives in exchange for its abandoning nuclear enrichment activities. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made the remarks at a joint press conference with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Boris Tarasyuk.

The Europeans say they will support referral of the matter to the U.N. Security Council if their diplomacy fails. A senior Iranian negotiator involved in the nuclear talks with the European Union, told Reuters that the U.S. offer is in his words, " too insignificant to comment about."

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says Washington will drop its objections to Iran's application to the World Trade Organization and allow some sales of civilian aircraft parts to Tehran.

The secretary says the U.S. move is aimed at keeping the spotlight, where it belongs, on Iran.

"Let's just be reminded the Iranians have an obligation to demonstrate that they are not trying under cover of civilian nuclear power development to develop a nuclear weapon, and there are grave concerns that they are trying to do that, suspicious activities that are being tracked by the IAEA," says Dr. Rice.

Iran has long denied it is seeking atomic weapons and has said its civilian nuclear program is for peaceful power generation.

But, earlier Friday, Britain, France and Germany told the European Union that they would support bringing Iran before the U.N. Security Council if talks fail to persuade Iran to permanently stop enriching uranium.

President Bush says he is pleased that the United States and Europe are, in his words, "speaking with one voice" on Iran.