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Iran Insists European Offer Must Recognize Enrichment Rights


Iran's foreign minister says he hopes European nations will press for a solution to the current nuclear standoff that recognizes Tehran's right to peaceful nuclear energy.

Speaking on the sidelines of a summit of eight mainly Muslim nations in Bali, Indonesia, Manouchehr Mottaki said any deal that does not include Iran's right to nuclear technology and the ways to secure it will not gain the interest of the Iranian people.

He also warned the Europeans not to make what he called the same mistakes from last August, when European negotiators came up with a list of incentives, asking Tehran to give up uranium enrichment.

Western nations, led by the United States, accuse Iran of secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons. Iran says it nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

Three EU countries - Britain, France and Germany - are preparing a new package of incentives to persuade Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions. The package is expected to be presented to Tehran within weeks.

Friday, diplomats said international inspectors have found traces of highly enriched uranium at a former research center, Lavizan, in Iran, that could indicate Tehran is secretly acquiring material for nuclear weapons.

News agencies quote the diplomats, speaking anonymously, as saying the finding by International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors still needs to be confirmed by laboratory tests.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.