From: Reuters
Published May 2, 2008 11:26 AM

Major powers agree on new incentives offer to Iran

By Arshad Mohammed and Adrian Croft

LONDON (Reuters) - Major powers have agreed to make a new offer of incentives to Iran to halt its sensitive nuclear work, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said on Friday.

"I am glad to say that we have got agreement on an offer that will be made to the government of Iran," Miliband said in a televised statement, saying the details of the offer would not be made public.

"We very much hope that they will recognize the seriousness and the sincerity with which we have approached this issue and that they will respond in a timely manner to the suggestions that we are making..."

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The group is comprised of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- along with Germany.

In June 2006, the six countries held out incentives to Iran, including civil nuclear cooperation and wider trade in civil aircraft, energy, high technology and agriculture, if Tehran suspended uranium enrichment and negotiated with the six.

The United States and other Western nations suspect Iran of using its civil nuclear program as a cover to develop nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is to generate electricity so that it can export more of its oil and gas.

Tehran has so far spurned a June 2006 offer of incentives from the six and has brushed off three U.N. Security Council resolutions that imposed sanctions for its failure to halt the nuclear work.

The benefits offered to Iran if it suspended uranium enrichment and negotiated with the major powers included civil nuclear cooperation and wider trade in civil aircraft, energy, high technology and agriculture.

"We believe that the rights that it (Iran) seeks need to be accompanied by a clear set of responsibilities and its in the spirit of seeking to fulfill both the rights and responsibilities that we are making a new approach to Iran on the basis of today's meeting," the statement added.

(Reporting by Arshad Mohammed and Adrian Croft, editing by )

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