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EU to Offer Iran Incentives to End Nuclear Program

The European Union says it will offer Iran an incentive package to abandon its controversial nuclear program. The initiative comes as European foreign ministers meet in Brussels.

European Union Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana told reporters in Brussels that the EU incentives to Iran will be generous and bold, and will relate to nuclear, economic, and possibly security matters.

"We are preparing a very serious package that we think it will be difficult for them to say no [[to] - if what they really want is energy," he said.

If Iran wants something different, Solana said, that will also become clear.

Solana spoke before an EU foreign ministers meeting - which includes ministers from Britain, France and Germany, the three European countries working to diffuse the nuclear standoff between Iran and the West.

Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful civilian purposes - to develop nuclear energy. But the United States and Europe fear Tehran is trying to acquire a nuclear weapon.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has rejected the new incentives before they have been presented. In remarks broadcast on Irans state television Sunday, he described the European proposals as invalid.

Tehran's steadfast refusal to abandon its nuclear activities poses a dilemma for the West, as it seeks a diplomatic solution to the standoff. European and U.S. efforts to impose U.N. sanctions against Tehran are stymied by opposition from Russia and China, which wield veto power at the U.N. Security Council .

European officials reportedly hope to finalize their new incentives package by Friday, when the five Security Council members, plus Germany, meet in London. Luxembourg's foreign minister described the package as one of the last chances to resolve the standoff diplomatically.